#100 – Alexander Fridman: My Dad, the Plasma Physicist

Alexander Fridman is a professor at Drexel University and the director of the Nyheim Plasma Institute. He is one of the top plasma physicists and plasma chemists in the world. And most importantly to me, he is my dad.

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This conversation is part of the Artificial Intelligence podcast. If you would like to get more information about this podcast go to https://lexfridman.com/ai or connect with @lexfridman on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Medium, or YouTube where you can watch the video versions of these conversations. If you enjoy the podcast, please rate it 5 stars on Apple Podcasts, follow on Spotify, or support it on Patreon.

Here’s the outline of the episode. On some podcast players you should be able to click the timestamp to jump to that time.

OUTLINE:
00:00 – Introduction
06:57 – Einstein and beautiful ideas in physics
10:03 – Simple, powerful ideas
12:57 – Falling in love with science
19:45 – Gagarin and space race
21:29 – Poetry
29:31 – Early school days
38:33 – Soviet education
43:31 – A stressful experience
51:49 – Childhood – memories of mom and dad
54:26 – Losing dad
1:02:30 – World War II
1:12:21 – Soviet Union
1:13:50 – Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology
1:24:18 – Theoretical physics
1:26:29 – Kurchatov Institute of Atomic Energy
1:37:34 – Meeting mom
1:45:16 – Becoming a father
2:06:28 – Chernobyl nuclear disaster
2:17:35 – What is plasma?
2:26:54 – Hot plasma and cold plasma
2:31:24 – Mysteries in plasma
2:36:38 – Plasma physics and plasma chemistry
2:39:42 – Plasma medicine
2:45:12 – Nobel prizes in plasma
2:50:17 – Cold fusion
2:54:16 – Journey to America
2:59:43 – Nyheim Plasma Institute
3:12:10 – Artificial intelligence
3:21:43 – Mortality
3:27:59 – Meaning of life
3:35:32 – Toast