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National Museum of Nuclear Science & History

Gerhart Friedlander (1916-2009) was a German-American nuclear chemist.

Friedlander was born in Munich on July 28, 1916. Forbidden to attend university by the Nazis because he was Jewish, he emigrated to the United States in 1936. He studied with Glenn Seaborg at the University of California, Berkeley, receiving his Ph.D. in 1942.

After gaining American citizenship in 1943, Friedlander was recruited to work on the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos. He primarily focused on investigating implosion devices for the plutonium bomb using powerful gamma ray sources. In 1944, he was promoted to leader of the radioactive lanthanum (RaLa) group in the Chemistry Division.

Friedlander later worked at Brookhaven National Laboratory for more than 30 years, conducting groundbreaking research on how high-energy particles trigger nuclear reactions. He chaired the Chemistry Department at Brookhaven from 1968-1977.

Friedlander also co-authored the textbook “Nuclear and Radiochemistry,” considered a classic in its field, with Manhattan Project colleague Joseph W. Kennedy.

Gerhart Friedlander's Timeline
1916 Jul 28th Born in Munich, Germany.
1936 Fled Nazi Germany and emigrated to the United States.
1942 Received a Ph.D. in Nuclear Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley.
1943 Granted U.S. citizenship.
19431946 Worked as a chemist on the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos.
19441946 Served as group leader for the radioactive lanthanum (RaLa) group in the Chemistry Division.
1948 Joined Brookhaven National Laboratory.
19681977 Chaired the Chemistry Department at Brookhaven.
2009 Sep 6th Died in South Setauket, New York.

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