Herbert Fröhlich (9 December 1905 – 23 January 1991) FRS was a German-born British physicist.
In 1927, Fröhlich entered Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich to study physics, and received his doctorate under Arnold Sommerfeld in 1930. 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 Sergei 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 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.
He was offered a handsome salary Bell Telephone Laboratories to go to Princeton University as their endowed professor. However, at Liverpool he had a purely research post which was attractive to him. He was then 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, as she was accepted to study Philosophy at Somerville College, Oxford under P. F. Strawson.
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 and remained there until his death. During 1981, he was a visiting professor at Purdue University. He was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1963 and in 1964.
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.
Honours and awards
Fröhlich was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 1951. In 1972 he was awarded the Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft Max-Planck Medal and in 1981 an Honorary Doctorate from Purdue University.
Books by Fröhlich
- 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
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.