Friedman, Jerome Isaac (1930-), an American physicist, did important research into some of the basic particles that form atoms. His investigations into electrons, protons, and neutrons helped to develop the concept of quarks, tiny particles that make up protons and neutrons. For his work, Friedman shared the 1990 Nobel Prize in physics with fellow American Henry Way Kendall and Canadian-born physicist Richard Edward Taylor.
Friedman was born in Chicago, in 1930. He declined a scholarship to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and instead accepted a scholarship to study science at the University of Chicago in 1950. He earned his master's degree in physics 1953 and a Ph.D. degree in physics in 1956. In 1957, he joined the High Energy Physics Laboratory at Stanford University as a research associate. While there, he began to conduct research with Henry Kendall and Richard Taylor. Friedman became a faculty member in the physics department of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.) in 1960.
In 1963, Friedman and Kendall began a collaboration with Taylor and other physicists from the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) and the California Institute of Technology. They worked developing electron scattering facilities for a physics program at the Stanford Linear Accelerator, a type of particle accelerator.
From 1967 to 1975, Friedman and other scientists used this particle accelerator to fire electrons at protons and neutrons. They found clear indications that an inner structure in the protons and neutrons of the atomic nucleus does exist. Complex computer analysis revealed extremely small, dense objects moving around in the protons and neutrons. These tiny particles were the quarks, the existence of which had been predicted by American physicist Murray Gell-Mann and others in the early 1960's.
Friedman became director of the Laboratory for Nuclear Science at M.I.T. in 1980 and headed the physics department there from 1983 to 1988. He returned to full-time teaching and research in 1988.