Thomas Kuhn

Timeline created by BexHudson
In History
  • Born: July 18, 1922, Cincinnati, OH

    Born: July 18, 1922, Cincinnati, OH
    Kuhn was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, to Samuel L. Kuhn, an industrial engineer, and Minette Stroock Kuhn, both Jewish.
    From kindergarten through fifth grade, he was attended Lincoln School, a private progressive school in Manhattan, which stressed independent thinking rather than learning facts and subjects.
  • War

    In the summer of 1943, Kuhn joined the Radio Research Laboratory’s theoretical group. Based at Harvard, his group was tasked with devising countermeasures against enemy radar. He was soon sent to work in a laboratory in the United Kingdom. Later he traveled with a Royal Air Force officer to France for a few weeks to study recently captured German radar installations, then carried on into Germany itself.
  • Back to School

    Kuhn returned to Harvard after the war in Europe ended and graduated with a master’s degree in Physics in 1946 and doctorate in 1949. His PhD thesis was The Cohesive Energy of Monovalent Metals as a Function of the Atomic Quantum Defects. Even before he returned to America, his enthusiasm for physics had been dwindling. He continued studying it though, because it was the most convenient way for him to get a doctorate.
  • Some Facts Towards the End

    Some Facts Towards the End
    He married Kathryn Muhs in 1948. His wife, like his mother, was a graduate of Vassar College. She typed his PhD thesis. They had two daughters and a son – Sarah, Elizabeth, and Nathaniel. The couple divorced in 1978. In 1981, age 59, Kuhn married Jehane Barton Burns. He retired from MIT in 1991, age 69.
  • The Copernican Revolution (1957)

    The Copernican Revolution (1957)
    Kuhn studied the development of the heliocentric theory of the solar system during the Renaissance. Kuhn questioned the traditional conception of scientific progress as a gradual, cumulative acquisition of knowledge based on rationally chosen experimental frameworks. Instead, he argued that the paradigm determines the kinds of experiments scientists perform, the types of questions they ask, and the problems they consider important.
  • Good Bye

    Thomas Kuhn died, age 73, of cancer on June 17, 1996 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He had been suffering from throat and lung cancer for two years.