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Alexander Friedmann

Alexander Friedmann
Alexander Friedmann
Born Alexander Alexandrovich Friedmann
(1888-06-16)June 16, 1888
Saint Petersburg
Died September 16, 1925(1925-09-16) (aged 37)
Nationality Russian
Fields Mathematics and Physics
Institutions Perm State University
Petrograd Polytechnical Institute
Main Geophysical Observatory
Doctoral advisor Vladimir Steklov
Doctoral students George Gamow
Nikolai Kochin
Pelageya Polubarinova-Kochina
Known for Friedmann equations
Friedmann–Lemaître–Robertson–Walker metric
Spouse Natalia Malinina

Alexander Alexandrovich Friedmann (also spelled Friedman or Fridman, Russian: Алекса́ндр Алекса́ндрович Фри́дман) (June 17 (old style or new style) by himself, June 16 (4 old style) by J. O'Conor in 1888, Saint Petersburg, Russian Empire – September 16, 1925, Leningrad, USSR) was a Russian and Soviet physicist and mathematician. He is best known for his pioneering theory that the universe was expanding, governed by a set of equations he developed now known as the Friedmann equations.


  • Early life 1
  • World War I 2
  • Professorship 3
  • Work 4
    • Relativity 4.1
    • Hydrodynamics and meteorology 4.2
  • Students 5
  • Personal life 6
  • Death 7
  • Named after Friedmann 8
  • Alexander Friedmann International Seminar 9
  • Selected publications 10
  • References 11
  • Bibliography 12
  • External links 13

Early life

Alexander Friedmann was born to the composer and ballet dancer Alexander Friedmann (who was a son of a baptized Jewish cantonist) and the pianist Ludmila Ignatievna Voyachek.[1] Friedmann was baptized into the Russian Orthodox Church as an infant, and lived much of his life in Saint Petersburg.

Friedmann obtained his degree in St. Petersburg State University in 1910, and became a lecturer in Saint Petersburg Mining Institute.

From his school days, Friedmann found an inseparable companion in Jacob Tamarkin, who at the end of his career was one of Brown University's most distinguished mathematicians.[2]

World War I

Friedmann fought in World War I on behalf of Imperial Russia, as an army aviator, an instructor and eventually, under the revolutionary regime, as the head of an airplane factory.[3]


Friedmann became a professor at Perm State University in 1918.

Friedmann in 1922 introduced the idea of an expanding universe that contained moving matter;

  • – Biography written by Eduard A. Tropp, Viktor Ya. Frenkel and Artur D. CherninAlexander A Friedmann: The Man who Made the Universe Expand
  • .  
  • – Mary Lynn GermadnikHow Do We Know the Age of the Universe

External links

  • Poluboyarinova-Kochina, P. Ya. (January–February 1964). "Aleksandr Fridman" (PDF). Soviet Physics Uspekhi (English edition): 467–472. 
  • Ferguson, Kitty (1991). Stephen Hawking: Quest For A Theory of Everything. New York: Bantam Books.  
  • Frenkel', V.Ya. (1988). "Aleksandr Aleksandrovich Fridman (Friedmann): a biographical essay". Soviet Physics Uspekhi 31 (7): 645–665.  


  1. ^ Hockey, Thomas (2009). The Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers.  
  2. ^ Pyenson L. Book review. Physics Today [serial online]. September 1994; 47(9):93. Available from: MasterFILE Premier, Ipswich, MA. Accessed October 18, 2012.
  3. ^ Pyenson L. Book review. Physics Today [serial online]. September 1994;47(9):93. Available from: MasterFILE Premier, Ipswich, MA. Accessed October 18, 2012.
  4. ^ Daintith J. Dictionary Of Scientists [e-book]. Oxford University Press; 1999. Available from: eBook Collection (EBSCOhost), Ipswich, MA. Accessed October 18, 2012.
  5. ^ a b c Davidson et al., A Voyage Through Turbulence, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 9780521149310, September 2011 (for a partial and legal excerpt of the book, see: [2])
  6. ^ Eduard A. Tropp, Viktor Ya. Frenkel, Artur D. Chernin (2006). "The final year". Alexander A Friedmann: The Man who Made the Universe Expand. Cambridge University Press. p. 209.  


Selected publications

Alexander Friedmann International Seminar is a periodical scientific event. The objective of the meeting is to promote contacts between scientists working in the field of Relativity, Gravitation and Cosmology and related fields. The First Alexander Friedmann International Seminar on Gravitation and Cosmology devoted to the centenary of his birth took place in 1988.

Alexander Friedmann International Seminar

The moon crater Fridman is named after him.

Named after Friedmann

Friedmann died on September 16, 1925, at the age of 37, from typhoid fever that he contracted while returning from a vacation in Crimea.[5]


In 1911, he married Ekaterina Dorofeyeva, though he later divorced her. He married Natalia Malinina in the last years of his life. They had a religious wedding ceremony, though both were far from religious.[6]

Personal life

Physicists Vladimir Fock and Lev Vasilievich Keller[5] were among his students.


In addition to general relativity, Friedmann's interests included hydrodynamics and meteorology.

Hydrodynamics and meteorology

The classic Howard P. Robertson and Arthur Geoffrey Walker, who worked on the problem in 1920's and 30's independently of Friedmann.

This dynamic cosmological model of general relativity would come to form the standard for both the Big Bang and Steady State theories. Friedmann's work supports both theories equally, so it was not until the detection of the cosmic microwave background radiation that the Steady State theory was abandoned in favor of the current favorite Big Bang paradigm.

Friedmann's 1924 papers, including "Über die Möglichkeit einer Welt mit konstanter negativer Krümmung des Raumes" ("On the possibility of a world with constant negative curvature of space") published by the German physics journal Zeitschrift für Physik (Vol. 21, pp. 326–332), demonstrated that he had command of all three Friedmann models describing positive, zero and negative curvature respectively, a decade before Robertson and Walker published their analysis.



In June 1925 he was given the job of the director of Main Geophysical Observatory in Leningrad. In July 1925 he participated in a record-setting balloon flight, reaching the elevation of 7,400 m (24,300 ft).[5]


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