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Obituary: Martin R. Friedmann SM '93

By Stacey E. Blau
Associate News Editor

Martin R. Friedmann MArch '93, a former graduate student in architecture, took his own life on Feb. 1, according to Senior Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education and Student Affairs Robert M. Randolph.

Friedmann, though he was not enrolled at MIT at the time of his death, worked at the Media Laboratory.

In addition to his work at MIT, Friedmann created a virtual reality demo which is currently installed in the Chicago Science Museum, said Alex P. Pentland, associate professor of media arts and sciences and Friedmann's adviser. Friedmann also created a World Wide Web page for the Rolling Stones.

At one time, he was a contender for the world championship in skateboarding, Pentland said.

In the eulogy that Friedmann's father, Herbert C. Friedmann, delivered at the memorial service held at the MIT Chapel on Feb. 4. Friedmann spoke about his son's "personality, his quirks, his intelligence, his vitality."

The eulogy appears on a virtual memorial wall World Wide Web home page which was created in Friedmann's memory. The address of the page is http://www-white.media.mit.edu/~martin/. The page also includes poems and brief eulogies by Friedmann's colleagues at the Media Lab and by his friends, including some cyberspace friends who had never met Friedmann in the flesh.

Noting the many friends that Friedmann had, Bradley Horowitz remarked in his eulogy at the memorial service how "Martin's friends flocked to him like the Pied Piper Š One of his greatest gifts to us is each other."

"There are the delicious images we all have archived in our minds Š Martin was so beautiful to look at, so exquisite Š To watch him skate Š a blur of red Š the incarnation of intensity," Horowitz said.

"Around Martin Š there were three ways to solve a problem. The right way, the wrong way, and Marty's way, which made the Œright' way look foolish," Horowitz said.

Pentland echoed Horowitz's sentiments about Friedmann's abilities, saying that he was a "super hacker Š one of the best." The level at which Friedmann worked in computer programming requires a "deep conceptual creativity," Pentland wrote on his eulogy on the memorial home page.

But Pentland said that he remembers Friedmann not for his many accomplishments or intellectual abilities but for "his amazing energy and fearless enthusiasm."

Friedmann's friends declined to discuss the details of his death.