Friedman, Herbert, 1916-2000

Alternative names
Birth 1916-06-21
Death 2000-09-09

Biographical notes:

Herbert Friedman received his Ph.D. in physics from Johns Hopkins University in 1940, and began working at the Naval Research Lab a year later. After two years of using X-ray radiation to detect manufacturing flaws, he was appointed head of the Electron Optics (1943-1958) branch of the Rocketry Division. In 1958 Friedman took over the Space Science Division until his retirement.

From the description of Oral History interview with Herbert Friedman, 1983 June 7. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 154305605

Died 9 September 2000.

From the description of Oral history interview with Herbert Friedman, 1980 August 21. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 81212260

Herbert Friedman was born in Brooklyn, New York and graduated from Brooklyn College in 1936 (BS) and from Johns Hopkins (Phd, Physics). He joined the Naval Research Laboratory in 1940, and until about 1950 maintained an active research program in applied x-ray spectroscopy. In 1949 he conducted his first of many space experiments comprising a set of x-ray and ultraviolet sensitive geiger counters to observe the Sun.

Friedman is recognized as one of the pioneers of space science for his contributions to solar physics, upper atmospheric physics and x-ray astronomy. He was also recognized as one of the great statesman of the discipline having been a member of the President's Science Advisory Committee, the General Advisory Committee to the Atomic Energy Commission, the Space Science Board of the National Academy of Sciences, the Governing Board of the National Academy of Sciences. His awards include the Eddington Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society, the National Medal of Science, the William Bowie Medal of the American Geophysical Society, the Henry Norris Russell Award of the American Astronomical Society and the Wolf Foundation Prize in Physics. He was elected a member of the National Academy of Science in 1960. He retired from the Naval Research Laboratory in 1980 but continued an association with the Laboratory as a consultant and as Chief Scientist, emeritus.

From the guide to the Herbert Friedman Papers, 1940-2000, (American Philosophical Society)


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  • X-ray astronomy
  • Antisemitism
  • V-2 rocket
  • Solar physics
  • Atmospheric astronomy
  • Artificial satellites, Russian
  • Cosmology
  • Ultraviolet astronomy
  • Geophysics--International cooperation
  • Astrophysics--History
  • Science--Philosophy
  • Astrophysics


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