In 1968-1969 he gave to Henry Kendall the first experimental evidence that protons have an internal structure, later known as quarks . For this he received, along with Kendall and Richard Taylor in 1980 the Nobel Prize in Physics "for their findings to deep inelastic scattering of electrons on protons and bound neutrons, which were essential for the development of the quark model in physics of elementary particles. "
Friedman was born in 1930 as the youngest of the two sons of Selig and Lillian Friedman Warsaw, immigrants from Russia. His father arrived in 1913, his mother a year later, on one of the last trips of the Lusitania . He received his primary and secondary education in Chicago, then he joined the University of Chicago . There he studied under Enrico Fermi in 1956 and obtained his Ph.D. in physics. He then went to Stanford University where he came from in the research Robert Hofstadter . Here he became familiar with counter physics and electron scattering. In 1960 he joined the Faculty of Physics of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Along with Kendall Taylor was involved in experiments at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC), while he shuttled back and forth between MIT and California. In 1980 he was appointed director of the Laboratory of Nuclear Science at MIT, and he served from 1983 to 1988 as head of the physics department. Friedman is a member of the Board of Sponsors ofThe Bulletin of Atomic Scientists .