Herbert Friedman

National Medal of Science

Physical Sciences

For pioneering work in rocket and satellite astronomy and in particular for his contributions to the field of X-ray astronomy.

For pioneering work in rocket and satellite astronomy and in particular for his contributions to the field of X-ray astronomy.

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Birth
June 21, 1916
Age Awarded
52
Country of Birth
USA
Key Contributions
Development Of A Branch Of Astrophysics Called Solar Physics
Use Of Sounding Rockets To Perform Tests In Orbit Around Space
Awarded by
Lyndon Baines Johnson
Education
Brooklyn College
Johns Hopkins University
Areas of Impact
Theory & Foundations
Affiliations
Naval Research Laboratory
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Herbert Friedman went to work every day for more than a paycheck.

“If I were rich, I would pay for the privilege of doing it,” his wife, Gertrude, recalled him saying about his research in astronomy and astrophysics during a 40-year career at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C.

Friedman began his career at NRL in 1940, using X-rays to study materials.

Ten years later, he switched to an emerging field: the study of space using “sounding rockets,” instrument-carrying vessels used to take measurements and make observations.

In one experiment, Friedman released a series of rockoons – small rockets lifted by balloons before launch – and used them to capture a solar flare, an explosion on the sun.

Among other pioneering efforts, Friedman helped capture the first image of the sun using a pinhole camera and fly the first solar satellite, SOLRAD, which serves as a model for the instruments the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration uses today.

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