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Nicholas Kurti

AKA Miklós Mór Kürti

Born: 14-May-1908
Birthplace: Budapest, Hungary
Died: 24-Nov-1998
Location of death: Oxford, England
Cause of death: Complications of Surgery
Remains: Buried, Hungarian National Cemetery, Budapest, Hungary

Gender: Male
Religion: Jewish
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Physicist, Chef

Nationality: England
Executive summary: Molecular gastronomy

Nicholas Kurti was born in Budapest, but fled the Nazis as a young man and spent most of his career at Oxford. He studied ultra-low temperature physics, and during World War II he worked on separating the isotopes of uranium, a precursor of construction of the atom bomb. His best-known scientific work involved nuclear cooling experiments that came within a millionth of a degree of absolute zero. For this he was listed in The Guinness Book of Records, which he considered one of his greatest honors.

His hobby was fine cooking, and with his friend, French chemist Hervé This, Kurti studied the physics and chemistry of cooking, co-hosted occasional food-science conferences, and coined the term "molecular gastronomy". His work as a "food physicist" led to first Royal Society cook book, edited by Kurti and his wife, and earned Kurti some celebrity beyond scientific circles. He was also an expert on the world's many national anthems, an a key behind-the-scenes player at Oxford in establishment of the Oxford Instrument Company.

Wife: Giana Shipley Kurti (m. 1946, two daughters)
Daughter: Camilla Kurti
Daughter: Susannah Kurti

    High School: Minta Gymnasium, Minta, Hungary (1925)
    University: MS, Sorbonne (1929)
    University: PhD Physics, University of Berlin (1931)
    Teacher: Physics, University of Berlin (1931-33)
    Teacher: Physics, Oxford University (1933-67)
    Professor: Physics, Oxford University (1967-75)

    Commander of the British Empire
    Hughes Medal 1969
    UK Atomic Bomb Project (1940-45)
    Royal Society Vice President (1965-67)
    Naturalized UK Citizen
    Hungarian Ancestry

Author of books:
But the Crackling Is Superb: An Anthology on Food and Drink by Fellows and Foreign Members of the Royal Society (1988, with Giana Kurti)


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