Milton Friedman was born in 1912 in New York, the child of Jenő Saul Friedman and Sára Eszter Landau, who moved to the United States from Beregszász (now Berehove), Hungary. After finishing school in 1928, Friedman studied mathematics and statistics at Rutgers University and then economics at the University of Chicago and Columbia University.
Prior to and during WWII, he worked for the US government and taught economics at the University of Wisconsin. In 1943, he returned to Columbia University, where he worked as a mathematical statistician, focusing on weapons design and military tactics. He was awarded a doctorate at Columbia in 1946. He began teaching in the economics faculty of the University of Chicago in 1946, where he remained for 30 years. There he was a central figure in the Chicago school of economics, which produced several Nobel Memorial Prize winners. Minimum government intervention and the free market system were the core elements of Friedman’s political philosophy and monetarist economic approach. In 1950, he worked on the Marshall Plan as a US government advisor. This period triggered his interest in floating exchange rates. He was Richard Nixon’s economic advisor during the 1968 presidential campaign. In 1976, he was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize for his work on consumption analysis, monetary history and theory, and the complexity of stabilisation policy. He also received two prestigious US awards in 1988: the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the
National Medal of Science.