Thimann, Expert In Plant Growth, To Head Bio Lab

Hybrid Research may Produce New Rubber Tree Exceeding Present Varieties in Output

The University's research studies in hybrid forest trees and plant hormones will receive new impetus today with the appointment of Kenneth V. Thimann as Director of the Biological Laboratories.

Thimann, who is one of the country's leading authorities on plant growth, is currently working with hybrid rubber trees in an effort to determine the best manner by which they can be propagated in sufficient numbers for commercial use.

If successful this work--which is being financed through funds provided by the Cabot foundation--would produce rubber-bearing plants with an output greatly exceeding that of the trees over in existence.

Will Study Hormones

The laboratory, Thimann has announced, will also conduct extensive experiments to determine the effects of hormones on plant growth. These studies are being financed through funds provided by the American Cancer Foundation in an effort to collect all possible information concerning growth in both plants and animals.


Thiman was graduated by the Imperial College of Science and Technology, London, England, in 1928. In 1930 he studied at the University of Grass, Austria, leaving after a year to join the faculty of the California Institute of Technology as an instructor in biochemistry and later in bacteriology.

Anti-Submarine Work

In 1935 Thimann came to Harvard as a lecturer in botany and in 1936 was appointed as assistant professor of Plant Physiology. In 1939, he was advanced to associate professor, a title which he still holds. During the war Thimann served as a Navy specialist in London and Pearl Harbor and was engaged in making scientific analyses of anti-submaine and naval aerial warfare.

Thimann was awarded the Stephen Hales Prize of the American Association of Plant Physiologists in 1936 and in 1942 served as Chairman of the Nov England section of that organization.