Werner Kuhn

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Werner Kuhn (February 6, 1899 - August 27, 1963) was a Swiss physical chemist who developed the first model of the viscosity of polymer solutions using statistical mechanics.[1] He is known for being the first to apply Boltzmann's entropy formula:[2]

S = k \log W \!

to the modeling of rubber molecules, i.e. the "rubber band entropy model", molecules which he imagined as chains of N independently oriented links of length b with an end-to-end distance of r.[3] This model, which resulted in the derivation of the thermal equation of state of rubber, has since been extrapolated to the entropic modeling of proteins and other conformational polymer chained molecules attached to a surface.

Kuhn received a degree in chemical engineering at the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule (ETH, Federal Institute of Technology), in Zürich, and later a doctorate (1923) in physical chemistry.[1]

In a 1951 lecture along with his student V.B. Hargitay, he was the first to hypothesize the countercurrent multiplier mechanism in the mammalian kidney, later to be discovered in many other similar biological systems.[4]

See also

Kuhn length


  1. 1.0 1.1 Werner Kuhn - Encyclopædia Britannica
  2. Kuhn, W. (1934). "Über die Gestalt fadenförmiger Moleküle in Losungen" (On the shape of filform molecules in solutions). Kolloidzeitschrift 68, p. 2.
  3. Müller, Ingo (2007). A History of Thermodynamics - the Doctrine of Energy and Entropy. Springer. ISBN 978-3-540-46226-2.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. A 2001 translation of the 1951 lecture originally published in German. The translation was published with remarks by Professor Bart Hargitay, then one of Kuhn's two former student aids. Harbitay says: Before settling in Basel, Kuhn did some very fundamental work in Kiel, separating isotopes in a centrifuge. This caused him to be fascinated with the effect of countercurrents in multiplying a very small single effect to significant separations. (Journal of the American Society of Nephrology website)

External links