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Lewis Friedman

by Susan J. Ainsworth
December 13, 2010 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 88, Issue 50

Lewis Friedman, 88, a retired senior research chemist at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), died on Sept. 20 in Lakewood, N.J., after a brief illness.

Friedman earned a B.S. in chemistry from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa., in 1943 and a Ph.D. in 1947 from Princeton University, working with John Turkevich.

Friedman then did postdoctoral work at the University of Chicago with Willard F. Libby, who later won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1960.

A pioneer in the field of mass spectrometry, Friedman joined BNL in 1948 and retired 47 years later. Friedman and his group were among the early investigators to probe the use of mass spectroscopy for the identification of fragile biomolecules. Their work was acknowledged in the Nobel lectures of two of the 2002 Nobel Laureates in chemistry, John B. Fenn and Koichi Tanaka, who were recognized for their work on the development of methods for identification and structural analysis of biological macromolecules.

Friedman’s group also developed a process to build singly ionized clusters of noble gases such as argon, which are now used in micromachining or milling of materials in the semiconductor industry. They also researched the use of stable carbon isotopes in medical, food science, and environmental applications, and they made key measurements related to solar neutrino experiments in physics.

Friedman’s wife of 60 years, Dorothy, died in 2009. He is survived by son, Robert; two daughters, Jan Harlan and Beth; and five grandchildren.


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