John Gamble Kirkwood was one of world's most distinguished and versatile scientists. His eminence in the field of statistical physics and chemistry was evidenced by his ingenious theoretical analyses which have played a major role in clarifying our understanding of such subjects as order‐disorder phenomena, polymers, liquids, solutions, irreversible thermodynamics, transport phenomena in fluids, the propagation of shocks and detonations, molecular quantum mechanics, liquid helium, and nuclear structure. His theory of electrolytes has been especially valuable in explaining the properties of proteins. Although he frequently dealt with abstract mathematical concepts, many of his ideas had practical applications. For example, he combined electrophoresis with thermal convection to provide an important means for effecting separations of proteins in solution.

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