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Private funeral services will be held for Dr. Hermann Rahn, 77, a distinguished professor of physiology at the University at Buffalo and a leading contributor in the fields of aerospace science and pulmonary medicine.

He died Saturday (June 23, 1990) after a brief illness.

A Cornell University graduate, Rahn received his doctorate from the University of Rochester in 1938. After a year as a fellow at Harvard University, he taught at the University of Wyoming and the University of Rochester before being appointed a UB physiology professor in 1956.

Rahn served as chairman of the physiology department until 1973, when he was appointed distinguished professor.

A pioneer contributor in the field of aerospace science during World War II, he earned the highest honor the U.S. Air Force bestows on civilians, the Meritorious Civilian Service Award.

At the University of Rochester, Rahn and his colleagues were leaders in describing many of the fundamental principles in the field of pulmonary medicine. For his work in that field, he received the American Lung Association's most prestigious award, the Trudeau Medal. One of the devices he invented led to the design of the self-guided cardiac catheter, which is used widely today.

Rahn later became a leader in environmental physiology, contributing to a better understanding of the medical problems of deep-sea diving. His efforts in that area led to his being the first recipient of the Under-Sea Medical Society's top honor, the Benke Award.

Rahn also left his mark on the field of comparative physiology and was immersed in those studies until a few weeks before his death.

An avid promoter of international exchange among scientists, Rahn studied at Kiel University in Germany and earned honorary degrees from the universities of Paris, Seoul, Rochester and Bern, Switzerland. He was a visiting professor at institutes in Gottingen, Germany, and Strasbourg, France.

Among his many honors, Rahn was elected to the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He was president of the American Physiological Society and vice president of the International Union of Physiologists. The author of more than 200 scientific articles and four major books, Rahn had several books and publications dedicated to him.

Surviving are his wife, Katharine F.; a son, Robert of Darien, Conn.; a daughter, Katharine B. of Boston, Mass., and two sisters, Marie Wohlmann of Konigsfeld, Germany, and Margarete Cosgrove of Rehoboth Beach, Del.

Details of a memorial service will be announced later.

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