Herbert Friedman

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Herbert Friedman
Born (1916-06-21)June 21, 1916
Died September 9, 2000(2000-09-09) (aged 84)
Nationality American
Alma mater Brooklyn College
Johns Hopkins University
Known for sounding rockets
Awards National Medal of Science (1968)
Eddington Medal (1964)
Albert A. Michelson Medal (1972)
William Bowie Medal (1981)
Wolf Foundation Prize in Physics (1987)

Herbert Friedman (June 21, 1916 – September 9, 2000) was an American pioneer in the application of sounding rockets to solar physics, aeronomy, and astronomy. He was also a statesman and public advocate for science. During his lifetime, he was awarded the Eddington Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society, the National Medal of Science, the Henry Norris Russell Lectureship of the American Astronomical Society, the William Bowie Medal of the American Geophysical Union, the Wolf Foundation Prize in Physics, and the Albert A. Michelson Medal of the Franklin Institute (1972),[1] among others. He was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences in 1960[2] and of the American Philosophical Society in 1964.


Friedman was born June 21, 1916 in Brooklyn, New York (USA) the second of three children of Samuel and Rebecca (née Seligson) Friedman.[3] His father was an Orthodox Jew who moved to New York City from Evansville, Indiana, and eventually established a successful art framing shop on East Ninth Street in Manhattan. Friedman's mother was born in eastern Europe. Friedman grew up as an aspiring artist and earned pocket money as a young man from the sale of his sketches. He entered Brooklyn College in 1932 as an art major, but ended up with a degree in physics. He was influenced by his first physics professor, Dr. Bernhard Kurrelmeyer, who eventually helped him get a scholarship to Johns Hopkins. Dr. Bernhard Kurrelmeyer's father was Dr. William Kurrelmeyer, department head of the German Department at Johns Hopkins.

His service to science included membership on the General Advisory Committee to the Atomic Energy Commission during Lyndon Johnson's presidency, on President Nixon's Science Advisory Committee, and on the Space Science and Governing boards of the National Academy of Sciences.


Friedman died of cancer at his home in Arlington, Virginia, on 9 September 2000, at the age of eighty four.


  1. ^ "Franklin Laureate Database - Albert A. Michelson Medal Laureates". Franklin Institute. Archived from the original on April 6, 2012. Retrieved June 14, 2011.
  2. ^ Gursky, Herbert (March 2001). "Obituary: Herbert Friedman". Physics Today. 54 (3): 94. Bibcode:2001PhT....54c..94G. doi:10.1063/1.1366078.
  3. ^ Hockey, Thomas (2009). The Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers. Springer Publishing. ISBN 978-0-387-31022-0. Retrieved August 22, 2012.

The Amazing Universe, by Herbert Freidman. National Geographic Society, c1975.

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