Bruno H. Zimm

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Bruno H. Zimm
Born(1920-10-31)October 31, 1920
DiedNovember 26, 2005(2005-11-26) (aged 85)
Alma materColumbia University
Known forPolymer chemist & DNA researcher
AwardsNAS Award in Chemical Sciences (1981)
Scientific career
Doctoral advisorJoseph E. Mayer
Doctoral studentsDonald Crothers
Ken A. Dill

Bruno Hasbrouck Zimm (October 31, 1920 – November 26, 2005) was an American chemist. He was a professor of chemistry and biochemistry from University of California, San Diego, and a leading polymer chemist and DNA researcher.[1][2]

Early life[edit]

Zimm was born an only child in 1920 in Woodstock, New York.[3] His father was a sculptor and his mother a writer. Zimm graduated from Kent School in Kent, Connecticut in 1938.[4] After obtaining his Ph.D. in physical chemistry under the tutelage of Joe Mayer at Columbia University in 1944, he moved across town for postdoctoral work with Herman Mark at the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn.[3]


In 1956, Zimm extended the Rouse model of Polymer Physics to include hydrodynamic interactions mediated by the solvent between different parts of the chain.[5] Whilst the original Rouse model overestimates the decrease of the diffusion coefficient D with the number of polymer beads N as 1/N, the Zimm model predicts D~1/Nν which is consistent with the experimental data for dilute polymer solutions, and where ν is the Flory exponent, a measure of the polymer solubility.

In 1959, together with J.K. Bragg, Zimm wrote a classic paper on the helix-coil transition for polypeptides;[6] a year later he published a second paper on the “melting” of the helical forms of DNA.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Doolittle, Russell F. (2009). "Bruno H. Zimm (1920-2005)". Protein Science. 15 (4): 942. doi:10.1002/pro.150942. PMC 2242470.
  2. ^ Elson, Elliot L.; Qian, Hong; Schurr, J. Mickey (2006). "Bruno H. Zimm (1920–2005)". Biophysical Chemistry. 121 (2): 155. doi:10.1016/j.bpc.2006.01.001.
  3. ^ a b Doolittle, RF (2006). "Bruno H. Zimm (1920–2005)". Protein Science. 15: 942–944. doi:10.1002/pro.150942. PMC 2242470.
  4. ^ "Sill Society Recognizes Four New Inductees in 2010", Kent Quarterly, vol. XXXVI.3, Summer 2010, p. 42.
  5. ^ Bruno H. Zimm, Dynamics of Polymer Molecules in Dilute Solution: Viscoelasticity, Flow Birefringence and Dielectric Loss, J. Chem. Phys. 24, 269 (1956).
  6. ^ Zimm, BH; Bragg JK (1959). "Theory of the Phase Transition between Helix and Random Coil in Polypeptide Chains". Journal of Chemical Physics. 31: 526–531. Bibcode:1959JChPh..31..526Z. doi:10.1063/1.1730390.
  7. ^ Zimm, BH (1960). "Theory of "Melting" of the helical form in double chains of the DNA type". Journal of Chemical Physics. 33: 1349–1356. Bibcode:1960JChPh..33.1349Z. doi:10.1063/1.1731411.

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