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Frederick Lindemann

AKA Frederick Alexander Lindemann

Born: 5-Apr-1886
Birthplace: Baden-Baden, Germany
Died: 3-Jul-1957
Location of death: Oxford, England
Cause of death: unspecified

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Occupation: Government, Physicist

Nationality: England
Executive summary: Churchill's scientific and war advisor

Military service: Royal Flying Corps (1915-19)

Physicist Frederick Lindemann studied under Walther Nernst, developed a theory of specific heats, and suggested that both protons and electrons come from the Sun. He conducted research pertinent to cryogenics, isotope separation, photoelectric photometry, quantum mechanics, and temperature inversion in the stratosphere. When he was twenty years old, he invented a new kind of glass for X-ray apparatus. He was British, but had been educated in Germany, and was a life-long friend of Albert Einstein, but Lindemann's impact extended beyond science.

During World War I he joined the Royal Flying Corps (a forerunner of today's Defence Research Agency), where he applied mathematics to develop a theory for recovering from lethal spiral spins in aircraft, then learned to pilot aircraft himself to prove that his theory would work. It did work, and is still taught and practiced today. After WWI he advocated a more robust air defense for England, which made him a natural ally and soon friend of Winston Churchill, who was then a former Member of Parliament. After Hitler took power in Germany, Lindemann used his contacts in Germany to arrange an exodus for numerous German scientists, many of whom became prominent in scientific research in the US or UK. The scientists he brought to Oxford helped make the Clarendon Laboratory a facility of world class stature.

With Churchill's appointment as Minister of Defence, Lindemann became his key scientific advisor, and during Churchill's time as Prime Minister few if any insiders had greater access or influence than Lindemann. He revamped and modernized the compilation of statistical information, providing Churchill with accurate and easy to understand information on a broad range of government matters, and in the process Lindemann became an expert on economics. Appointed to Churchill's cabinet, he wrote and circulated a paper that advocated targeting residential neighborhoods in German cities with heavy bombardment, because, he explained, making large numbers of German civilians homeless would undermine the enemy's morale. Lindemann's plan was (and remains) controversial, but was quickly adopted by Churchill.

Lindemann was made Lord Cherwell in 1941, and created the Viscount of Cherwell in 1956. He founded the UK's Atomic Energy Authority in 1954. Friends called him "Prof" (short for professor), and for his scientific work he was awarded the Hughes Medal in 1956. He never married, but had a reputation as a ladies' man to rival Disraeli.

Father: Adolph Friedrich Lindemann (engineer, b. 1846, d. 1927)
Mother: Olga Noble Lindemann (b. 1851, d. 1927)

    University: PhD, University of Berlin
    Professor: Experimental Philosophy, Oxford University (1919-41 and 1945-57)

    UK Official Atomic Energy Authority (1954-57)
    UK Paymaster-General (1951-53)
    UK Member of Parliament House of Lords (1941-57)
    UK Paymaster-General (1942-45)
    Royal Society
    Hughes Medal 1956
    Life Peerage as Baron Cherwell (1941)
    Life Peerage as Viscount Cherwell (1956)
    French Ancestry (paternal)
    German Ancestry (paternal)
    American Ancestry (maternal)
    Risk Factors: Vegetarian


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