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 Richard Johann Kuhn

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Richard Johann Kuhn

Birth
Vienna, Wien Stadt, Vienna (Wien), Austria
Death 1 Aug 1967 (aged 66)
Heidelberg, Stadtkreis Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Burial Heidelberg, Stadtkreis Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Memorial ID 180052007 View Source
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Nobel Prize Recipient. Richard Kuhn, an Austrian-German biochemist, received international notoriety after he was awarded the 1938 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, according to the Nobel Prize committee, "for his work on carotenoids and vitamins." Before 1937, he received eight nominations for a Nobel candidacy; three Nobel Prizes were awarded to worthy candidates in 1937 for research with various vitamins. During World War II, he supported the Nazi Party in Germany, but not a member of the Nazi Party, yet following instructions as the Director of Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Medical Research, three of his Jewish colleagues were forced to resign by 1935. He was credited with the discovery of the deadly nerve agent Soman in 1944, which was manufactured as warfare. Forbidden by the Nazi Party to accept the Nobel Prize in 1938, he finally received his diploma and gold medal in 1948 after the end of World War II. He had written earlier in 1938 a letter to the Nobel committee declining the award as accepting the award would violate a decree of the Führer. An interest in science began early in his childhood as he attended school from 1910 to 1918 with Wolfgang Pauli, the 1947 Nobel Prize in Physics. In 1918, he began studies in chemistry at the University of Vienna, transferring to the University of Munich in Germany, and receiving his doctoral degree in 1922. Recognized as a brilliant 21-year-old scholar, he stayed at the university with a docentship. He studied under Richard Willstätter, the 1915 Nobel Prize in Chemistry recipient, and published his doctorate thesis “On the Specificity of Enzymes.” In the fall 1925 after returning to Switzerland, he joined the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich and in 1926 became Professor of General and Analytical Chemistry. His research publication from 1927 to 1930 were exclusively on organic chemistry, whereas prior publications were on the subject of enzymes. Over his career he published at least 700 scientific papers. In 1929, he accepted a position at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Medical Research, which is today's Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, in Heidelberg, Germany. He became Director of the Institute, as well as Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Heidelberg, in 1937. From 1948 he was Secretary of the Supervisory Board; from 1954 Chairman of the Chemistry, Physics and Technology Section; and from 1955 Vice-President of the Kaiser Wilhelm-Max Planck Society. . In 1938 he became the President of the German Chemistry Society. At the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the German Chemical Society, he gave a speech on December 5, 1942. Kuhn was editor of a professional chemistry journal, “Justus Liebigs Annolen der Chemie” from 1948. His research led him to focus on vitamins, and he carried out groundbreaking work on the structures of vitamin A, vitamin B2, and vitamin B6. In 1968, the German Chemistry Society began awarding the Richard Kuhn Medal to an outstanding German chemist, but with research after the Cold War into his support of the Nazi regime during World War II, this professional organization stopped giving this award in 2005. His involvement with the Nazi Party still is a controversial subject. After the War, Kuhn cooperated with the Allies, taught in universities in the United States for a while, and returned to Heidelberg in 1953 as an Austrian citizen. He met pharmacy student Daisy Hartmann, whom he married in 1928. The marriage produced two sons and four daughters. He was a member of several German professional societies and received only medals from German organizations. In 1973 a street in Vienna was named in his honor but in 2018 the name of the street was renamed, and a newspaper statement gave his relationship to the Nazi Party led to the change. A lunar crater was named in his honor.

Bio by: Linda Davis


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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: letemrip
  • Added: 5 Jun 2017
  • Find a Grave Memorial 180052007
  • Find a Grave, database and images (www.findagrave.com/memorial/180052007/richard-johann-kuhn : accessed ), memorial page for Richard Johann Kuhn (3 Dec 1900–1 Aug 1967), Find a Grave Memorial ID 180052007, citing Bergfriedhof Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Stadtkreis Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany ; Maintained by Find A Grave .