A Lifetime in Science
Impressive in his work, inspiring to others and dedicated to his profession, Dr. Ray Friedman leaves a legacy of devotion to fire research.
With a background as a research chemist, Dr. Friedman held positions in research and management at Westinghouse Research Laboratories, Atlantic Research Corporation (ARC) and Factory Mutual Research Corporation (FMRC). As vice president and general manager of the research division of ARC, he directed fundamental studies on various kinetics and combustion problems, particularly in solid propellants combustion, flame extinguishment, flame structure and ionized combustion gases.
In 1969, he joined FMRC as scientific director and manager of the basic research department. In 1975, he became vice president and manager of the research division (now part of Factory Mutual Insurance Company [FM Global]), a position from which he retired in 1987. He was, at the time, an internationally known scientist prominent in the Combustion Institute and other professional associations. His presence brought renown to FMRC as a leading institution for research on combustion and fires. Soon after he arrived, his reputation was the determining factor in drawing the famous combustion scientist Dr. George H. Markstein to join FMRC to work with him.
Ray devoted much time to the training of young scientists, and his inquisitive and inventive mind was instrumental in driving many of the early advances in the understanding of fire phenomena. While at FMRC, Ray wrote many papers reviewing the state of the art in the field of fire research, which were intended to guide further research. But, by far his most significant contribution was that of enhancing FMRC’s scientific reputation and creating an environment that inspired other scientific researchers. His leadership established the foundation of an enduring legacy that is still felt at FM Global.
He devoted much effort to the formation of the International Association for Fire Safety Science, and he received many professional and academic honors. They included positions of leadership with the Combustion Institute (president, 1978-82), the American Chemical Society’s Division of Fuel Chemistry (chairman, 1964), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Academy of Science (NAS). Ray was also a member of the Cosmos Club.
Known for his keen wit and analytical mind, Ray enjoyed classical music at the Society of the Four Arts in Palm Beach and at Tanglewood in the Berkshires. The eclectic nature of Ray’s intellect is reflected in the wide range of his publications. He is the author of the definitive text on fire prevention, Principles of Fire Protection Chemistry and Physics, and several other publications. Ray leaves his adored best friend and wife of 68 years, Myra. He is missed by those who had the privilege to know him and work with him.
Franco Tamanini, FM Global