Published by the MIT News Office at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass.
ONE OF TEN Friedman Named Institute Professor Jerome I. Friedman, the eminent scientist who shared the 1990 Nobel Prize for physics, has been named Institute Professor--a title MIT reserves for scholars of special distinction. The honor--traditionally initiated by the faculty and bestowed jointly by the administration and the faculty--was announced by President Charles M. Vest, Provost Mark S. Wrighton and Faculty Chairman Henry D. Jacoby. The title of Institute Professor recognizes the recipient's exceptional distinction, manifested by extraordinary leadership, accomplishment and service in the scholarly, educational and general intellectual life of the Institute or the wider academic community. An ad-hoc faculty committee which recommended Professor Friedman for the title found that he personifies the qualifications for Institute Professor. He is recognized internationally as a superb physicist. He is prized by his MIT colleagues for the generous commitment of his time and ingenuity to the betterment of MIT. He is held in equally high esteem by the physics community at large. The ad-hoc committee said his accomplishments on many levels qualify him for this distinction. Being a recipient of a Nobel Prize does not in itself qualify one for the rank of Institute Professor because of the emphasis in the qualifications on contributions to the Institute and the professional community. There are usually no more than 12 active Institute Professors on the faculty. Professor Friedman's appointment brings the current number to 10. There are 21 Institute Professors Emeritii. Professor Friedman shared the 1990 Nobel Prize for physics with Professor Henry W. Kendall, also of MIT, and Dr. Richard E. Taylor of the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center. They were the key members of the research team that conducted in the late 1960s and early 1970s a famous series of experiments on the scattering of electrons by protons, deuterons and heavier nuclei. These experiments gave the first clear evidence for a charged point-like substructure inside the nucleon. The interpretation of their data gave strong support to the quark model and provided the experimental underpinnings for the development of quantum chromodynamics. Professor Friedman, a faculty member at MIT since 1960, has made far- reaching contributions to undergraduate education at MIT. It was largely at his initiative, his colleagues say, that the Department of Physics placed undergraduate education at the forefront of its mission. His tenure as head of his department (1983-88) was marked by the development of strong faculty support for the physics core courses. As head, he also strengthened the department by recruiting first-rate junior faculty. He also led the effort to pay the full academic-year salary of junior faculty from department funds, an action widely hailed as a major improvement in the "quality of life" for junior faculty. Professor Friedman also has made major contributions to the education of minority students. He is viewed as the key figure responsible for the fact that MIT educates 15 percent of the underrepresented US minorities studying physics. Professor Friedman also has made lasting contributions to the arts at MIT as a long-time member of the Creative Arts Council. The physics community outside MIT has also benefitted from Professor Friedman's contributions. He has served on the Program Advisory Committee and the Scientific Policy Committee of the Stanford Linear Accelerator. He is chairman of the Scientific Policy Committee of the Superconducting Supercollider being built in Texas. Earlier in his career, Professor Friedman was a co-discoverer of the violation of parity conservation in the decay of the mu meson. This result, along with others, forced a new view of the symmetries satisfied by the laws of physics. Professor Friedman holds the AB (1950), the MS (1953) and the PhD (1956) from the University of Chicago. He was a research associate at Chicago (1956-57) and at Stanford University (1957-60) before joining MIT. From 1980-83, Professor Friedman was director of the Laboratory for Nuclear Science. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.