Reference Work Entry

Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers

pp 758-761


Friedman, Herbert

BornBrooklyn, New York, USA, 21 June 1916

DiedArlington, Virginia, USA, 9 September 2000

Herbert Friedman pioneered X-ray astronomy using V-2 and Aerobee rockets during the late 1940s and 1950s. He and his team were the first to find X-ray emission from the Sun, discover the second X-ray source outside the Solar System – the Crab Nebula – and demonstrate that X-rays come from the nebula as a whole, not just from a central star as Friedman had hoped.

Friedman, the son of fine-arts dealer Samuel and Rebecca (née Seligson) Friedman, entered Brooklyn College as an art major. Under the influence of physicist Bernhard Kurrelmeyer, Friedman graduated in physics and spent the summer of 1936 looking for a job until Kurrelmeyer, a graduate of Johns Hopkins University, arranged for Friedman to be given a student instructorship there.

At Hopkins University, Friedman started laboratory work directly under Nobel Prize winner James Franck, the head of the physics department. When Franck left for Chicago, ...

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