Herbert Fröhlich

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Herbert Fröhlich
Herbert Fröhlich.jpg
Herbert Fröhlich (1905-1991)
Born (1905-12-09)9 December 1905
Rexingen, German Empire
Died 23 January 1991(1991-01-23) (aged 86)
Liverpool, England
Residence UK
Nationality British
Fields Physicist
Alma mater Ludwig-Maximilians University
Doctoral advisor Arnold Sommerfeld
Doctoral students
Other notable students
Known for
Notable awards
He is the brother of the mathematician Albrecht Fröhlich.

Herbert Fröhlich (9 December 1905 – 23 January 1991) FRS[2] was a German-born British physicist.[3][4]


In 1927, Fröhlich entered the Ludwig-Maximilians University, Munich, to study physics, and he received his doctorate under Arnold Sommerfeld, in 1930.[1] His first position was as Privatdozent at the University of Freiburg. Due to rising anti-Semitism and the Deutsche Physik movement under Adolf Hitler, and at the invitation of Yakov Frenkel, Fröhlich went to the Soviet Union, in 1933, to work at the Ioffe Physico-Technical Institute in Leningrad. During the Great Purge following the murder of Sergey Kirov, he fled to England in 1935. Except for a short visit to the Netherlands and a brief internment during World War II, he worked in Nevill Francis Mott's[2] department, at the University of Bristol, until 1948, rising to the position of Reader. At the invitation of James Chadwick, he took the Chair for Theoretical Physics at the University of Liverpool.[2][5]

He was offered by the Bell Telephone Laboratories a handsome salary to go to Princeton University as their specially endowed professor. But at Liverpool he had a purely research post, which was attractive to him, and he was newly married to an American postgraduate philosophy student, and later an artist, Fanchon Aungst, who was not keen to return to America at that time.

From 1973, he was Professor of Solid State Physics at the University of Salford, however, all the while maintaining an office at the University of Liverpool, where he gained emeritus status in 1976 until his death. During 1981, he was a visiting professor at Purdue University.[6][7] He has been nominated for the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1963 and in 1964.[8]

Fröhlich proposed a theory of coherent excitations in biological systems known as Fröhlich coherence. A system that attains this state of coherence is known as a Fröhlich condensate.[9][10][11]

Honours and awards[edit]

Fröhlich was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 1951.[2] In 1972 he was awarded the Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft Max-Planck Medal and in 1981 an Honorary Doctorate from Purdue University.[12]

Books by Fröhlich[edit]

  • Herbert Fröhlich Elektronentheorie der Metalle. (Struktur und Eigenschaften der Materie in Eigendarstellung, Bd.18). (Springer, 1936, 1969)
  • Herbert Fröhlich Elektronentheorie der Metalle (Ann Arbor: Edwards Brothers, First US edition, in German, 1943) ISBN 1-114-56648-9
  • Herbert Fröhlich Theory of Dielectrics: Dielectric Constant and Dielectric Loss (Clarendon Press, 1949, 1958)
  • Herbert Fröhlich and F. Kremer Coherent Excitations in Biological Systems (Springer-Verlag, 1983) ISBN 978-3-642-69186-7
  • Herbert Fröhlich, editor Biological Coherence and Response to External Stimuli (Springer, 1988) ISBN 978-3-642-73309-3

Personal life[edit]

Fröhlich was the son of Fanny Frida (née Schwarz) and Jakob Julius Fröhlich, members of an old-established Jewish family. He is the brother of Albrecht Fröhlich.[13]


  1. ^ a b c Herbert Fröhlich at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  2. ^ a b c d e Mott, N. (1992). "Herbert Fröhlich 9 December 1905-23 January 1991". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. 38: 146. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1992.0008. 
  3. ^ Terence W. Barrett and Herbert A. Pohl Energy Transfer Dynamics: Studies and Essays in Honor of Herbert Frohlich on His Eightieth Birthday (Springer-Verlag, 1987) ISBN 978-3-540-17502-5
  4. ^ GJ Hyland and Peter Rowlands (editors) Herbert Frohlich FRS: A Physicist Ahead of his Time. (University of Liverpool, 2006, 2nd edition 2008.) ISBN 978-0-906370-57-5
  5. ^ Biography of Herbert Frohlich (1905 - 1991) – Bogoliubov Laboratory of Theoretical Physics
  6. ^ Fröhlich – Purdue University
  7. ^ Fröhlich, Herbert FRS (1905-1991), Physicist – University of Liverpool
  8. ^ Nobel Prize Nominations
  9. ^ Long Range Coherence and Energy Storage in Biological Systems – H. Frohlich, Long Range Coherence and Energy Storage in Biological Systems, Int. J. Quantum Chem., v.II, 641-649 (1968)
  10. ^ Coherent Excitations in Biological Systems – Herbert Fröhlich and F. Kremer Coherent Excitations in Biological Systems (Springer-Verlag, 1983) ISBN 978-3-642-69186-7
  11. ^ Biological Coherence and Response to External Stimuli – Herbert Fröhlich, editor Biological Coherence and Response to External Stimuli (Springer, 1988) ISBN 978-0-387-18739-6
  12. ^ Honorary Doctorate Recipient - Purdue University
  13. ^ Archives of UK's 11 important scientists' work to be preserved for posterity

External links[edit]