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Dr. Albert Freedman

Internal News - 24 March 2005

Opening of the Freedman Acoustics Archive

An important set of papers written by one of the pioneers of underwater acoustics has been lodged at the University of Bath and is open to researchers and to the public.

The archive of the work of Dr Albert Freedman (1916-2004) was officially opened last week at the Library in the presence of his widow, close family and an international audience of more than 30 people.

Mr Peter Harper, Director of the prestigious National Cataloguing Unit for the Archives of Contemporary Scientists (NCUACS) presented Mrs Freedman with the 83-page catalogue of the Archive’s contents, and Dr Philippe Blondel, Head of the Remote Sensing Laboratory at the University, summed up the scientific achievements and the legacy of Dr Freedman’s research.

Dr Freedman had a long and productive career in many fields of science, primarily in underwater acoustics. He was attached to the Royal Navy training establishment, HMS Vernon, in Portsmouth in 1939, working on new types of searchlights later used during the Blitz and on Atlantic and Arctic convoys.

In 1940, he joined the Underwater Detection Establishment, where he remained for the next 37 years, working on underwater acoustics and its applications to anti-submarine warfare and mine counter-measures. After D-Day, Dr Freedman was a Naval Intelligence officer, assessing captured Nazi facilities in Holland and other recently liberated places.

In the 1960s, he was one of the pioneers in the use of computers in theoretical and applied acoustics. He remained active in research long after his retirement and published several key papers in underwater acoustics.

Dr Freedman and his family donated research results, papers and scientific correspondence to the University of Bath in 2003/2004. Lizzie Richmond, the University Archivist, catalogued them in 2004 in association with the NCUACS and with scientific input from Dr Philippe Blondel and Dr Olga Gómez Sichi in the Department of Physics.

Reference articles, technical reports, scientific correspondence and unpublished scientific results are now being used to further the understanding of acoustics under water and its applications. Interested parties should contact the University of Bath Library.

After the opening ceremony, Dr Blondel commented: “Isaac Newton said, ‘Science is done by standing on the shoulders of giants’. As the pace of scientific progress increases, it is particularly important to be able to access archives of great scientists, and learn from their achievements.”