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May 29 | 1991 | Tech Talk | Search | MIT News | Comments | MIT


Friedman Named Institute Professor

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. 

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 

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.

May 29 | 1991 | Tech Talk | Search | MIT News | Comments | MIT