Thomas Kuhn (July 18, 1922 – June 17, 1996)

  • Thomas is Born and Early Life

    Thomas is Born and Early Life
    Thomas Kuhn was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, to Samuel L. Kuhn and Minette Stroock Kuhn.Thomas lived in Manhattan, NY from kindergarten through fifth grade, he was educated at Lincoln School, a private school which stressed independent thinking. His family then moved to the small town of Croton-on-Hudson, NY. He attended Hessian Hills School. Here, he learned to love mathematics. He left Hessian Hills in 1937. He graduated from The Taft School in Watertown, Connecticut, in 1940.
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    The life of Thomas Kuhn and his scientific timeline

    Thomas Kuhn was a very influential scientific philosopher that discussed the progress of scientific knowledge and theorized that scientific fields undergo periodic "paradigm shifts". He led a very productive life. He sought out his pursuit of knowledge and ended up being one of the most influential philosophers of his time.
  • College life

    College life
    He obtained his Bachelor's degree in physics from Harvard College in 1943. He also obtained Masters and PhD degrees in physics there in 1946 and 1949, respectively.
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    Kuhn Starts Professionally Teaching

    During this time, Kuhn taught a undergraduate class in humanities. It was part of the General Education in Science curriculum. It was developed by James B. Conant, the President of Harvard. This course was centered around historical case studies, and this was Kuhn’s first opportunity to study historical scientific texts in detail. This led Kuhn to concentrate on history of science and later he was appointed to an assistant professorship in general education and the history of science.
  • Kuhn Publishses his first book

    Kuhn Publishses his first book
    Kuhn later shifted his research to astronomy. This lead to him publishing his first book, The Copernican Revolution.
  • Kuhn Becomes a Professor at UC Berkeley

    Kuhn Becomes a Professor at UC Berkeley
    In 1956 Kuhn moves up to UC Berkley to teach history of science, but in the philosophy department. In 1961 Kuhn became a full professor at the University of California at Berkeley. This enabled him to develop his interest in the philosophy of science.
  • Kuhn and Feyerabend Publish “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.”

    Kuhn and Feyerabend Publish “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.”
    Kuhn and Feyerabend publish a book with a main idea that explains that development of science is driven, in normal periods of science, by adherence to what Kuhn called a ‘paradigm’. A crisis in science arises when confidence is lost in the ability of the paradigm to solve particularly worrying puzzles called ‘anomalies’.
  • Cont. of 1962 Publishing of The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.

    Cont. of 1962 Publishing of The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.
    Crisis is followed by a scientific revolution if the existing paradigm is superseded by a rival. Kuhn claimed that science guided by one paradigm would be ‘incommensurable’ with science developed under a different paradigm, by which is meant that there is no common measure for assessing the different scientific theories. This thesis of incommensurability, rules out certain kinds of comparison of the two theories and consequently rejects some traditional views of scientific development.
  • Interview with Neils Bohr

    Interview with Neils Bohr
    Kuhn interviewed and tape recorded Danish physicist Niels Bohr the day before Neils died.
  • Kuhn moves to Princeton University

    Kuhn moves to Princeton University
    In 1964 Kuhn left Berkeley to take up the position of Professor of Philosophy and History of Science at Princeton University. He served as the president of the History of Science Society from 1969 to 1970.
  • Move to MIT

    Move to MIT
    In 1979 he joined the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) as the Laurance S. Rockefeller Professor of Philosophy, remaining there until 1991.
  • Death of Thomas Kuhn

    Death of Thomas Kuhn
    Kuhn continued throughout the 1980s and 1990s to work on a variety of topics in both history and philosophy of science. Including the development of the concept of incommensurability. In 1994 Kuhn was diagnosed with lung cancer. He later died in 1996.