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March 28: The Quark

March 27, 2015

friedmanPhysicist Jerome Isaac Friedman, who shared a 1990 Nobel prize for experimental confirmation of the structure of fundamental particles known as quarks, was born in Chicago to Russian Jewish immigrants on this date in 1930. Friedman was oriented towards the arts until he read a book by Albert Einstein. He then turned down a scholarship to the Art Institute of Chicago and went to study physics at the University of Chicago. In 1960 he became a professor at MIT, and later in the decade he began to shuttle between MIT and Stanford, where he helped conduct experiments that showed protons and neutrons, the particles that form the inner structure of atoms, to have an internal structure that came to be known as quarks -- as predicted in 1964 by Murray Gell-Mann and George Zweig. In 2003, Friedman joined 21 other Nobel Laureates to sign the Humanist Manifesto.

“Creativity is the basis of all innovation, and although it is doubtful that it can be taught, creativity should be nurtured in those who have it.” —Jerome Friedman