In Memoriam Jürgen Kühn

May 04, 2022

The first head of a central computing group at the Fritz-Haber-Institut and former member of the Joint Network Center passed away at the age of 78 in Wannsee. We remember a highly motivated and friendly man who lived for computers and immensely enriched the Institute.

On March 10, 2022, our former colleague Jürgen Kühn passed away in Wannsee at the age of 78. Mr. Kühn was associated with the Fritz-Haber-Institut (FHI) for most of his life. He studied Physics at the Free University Berlin and his diploma thesis, on which he worked from 1967 to 1971, was supervised in the Department of Structural Research by Prof. Gerhard Borrmann. During this time, he also became very familiar with computers and programming at the institute, which was to become the basis for his later professional activities. In March 1972, Jürgen Kühn was hired as a researcher at the Fritz-Haber-Institut in the Computational Facilities Group and headed the computational facility from 1974. Later, he worked with great dedication on the transformation of this facility into the Joint Computer Center of the Fritz-Haber-Institut and the Max-Planck-Institut for Molecular Genetics (Gemeinsames Rechenzentrum GRZ, 1985), and finally contributed to the foundation of the Joint Network Center of the Berlin-Brandenburg Max Planck Institutes (Gemeinsames Netzwerkzentrum GNZ, 2002). Mr. Kühn retired from active service in September 2009.

Jürgen Kühn has contributed significantly to the successful use of data processing at the Fritz-Haber-Institut, but also in other Max Planck Institutes. Together with students in 1978/79, he developed an administrative processing and accounting software for the FHI, which was used until 1996 with great acceptance throughout the Max Planck Society. In the years from 1977 to 1985, he was a member of the Advisory Committee for Computer Centers (BAR) of the Max Planck Society. Furthermore, he applied his profound knowledge of networks to the expansion of the computer network on the FHI campus and later to the connection between the GNZ and the participating Max Planck Institutes of the entire Berlin and Potsdam area with great success. For a long time, he was, together with his colleagues, responsible for the selection, application, and procurement of network and computer components for the FHI and for the institutes in the GNZ community. His savvy ability to save costs in procurements was impressive and always welcome.

In his daily work, Mr. Kühn was a balanced and very friendly person, always easy to contact. His willingness to help was much appreciated by many colleagues while he could also set priorities. He successfully motivated and guided younger employees, always remaining rather modestly in the background. He knew no overtime rules and was often found at the institute even at nighttime. His private hobbies were also determined by electronics and internet activities. As an example, he coordinated the Spanish Wikipedia pages for quite a while. He was also very attached to his cats, for whom he maintained a special website.

We will cherish Jürgen Kühn's memory as a colleague and as a person.

Prof. Dr. Klaus Hermann

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