Nobel laureate ‘God particle’ physicist Leon Lederman sells Nobel Prize medal for £510,000

It is the fourth highest price paid for a Nobel gold medal

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The Nobel gold medal of the scientist who coined the phrase “God particle” to describe the Higgs boson – the subatomic particle that accounts for matter having mass – has been sold for $765,002 (£510,000) at auction in Los Angeles.

The gold medal of Leon Lederman, 92, who won the 1988 Nobel Prize in Physics for his part in the discovery of another sub-atomic particle called the muon neutrino, is only the second to be sold by a living laureate, but the tenth Nobel gold medal to be sold at auction.


It is the fourth highest price paid for a Nobel gold medal. The highest, sold last year by James Watson, the co-discoverer of the DNA double helix, went for $4,757,000. However, the Russian buyer immediately donated the medal back to Dr Watson saying that he was the rightful owner.

Dr Lederman’s second wife, Ellen, organised the sale of the medal saying that her husband has enjoyed owning the Nobel Prize medal for many years “but feels it is time for someone else who shares his love of science to treasure his medal. He hopes this sale raises the awareness of the importance of physics.”