October 31, 1920–November 26, 2005
BY CAROL BETH POST AND RUSSELL F. DOOLITTLE
PROFESSOR BRUNO H. ZIMM, distinguished scientist and premier polymer chemist, died on November 26, 2005, in La Jolla, California, at the age of 85 after a hard-fought battle with Parkinson’s disease.
Bruno Zimm was born in 1920 in Woodstock, New York, to Bruno Louis Zimm, an acclaimed sculptor, and Louise Zimm, a writer. He married Georgianna Grevatt in 1944, and together they raised two sons, Louis Zimm and Carl Zimm.
Zimm’s pioneering contributions to polymer chemistry laid the groundwork for modern research on biological and synthetic macromolecules, and established him as a founding father of the physical chemistry of macromolecules. His lasting impact on not only science but also on researchers is unparalleled. Zimm’s scientific preeminence was recognized early, and he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1958 at the young age of 38, with many of his celebrated works yet to be published.
Bruno Zimm received his B.S. in chemistry from Columbia University in 1941, and in 1944 earned his Ph.D. under the tutelage of Joseph E. Mayer, also at Columbia. As this was the time of World War II, Zimm spent a summer working on a