• Wallace Hume Carothers and the Birth of Rational Polymer Synthesis

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      https://www.ias.ac.in/article/fulltext/reso/022/04/0339-0353

    • Keywords

       

      Polymer science, polycondensation, polyesterifcation, polyesters, polyamides, nylons.

    • Abstract

       

      Wallace Hume Carothers holds a place of pride amongst thepantheons of twentieth-century chemists who transformed ourway of thinking, and brought an entirely new perspective toa branch of science. Polymer science flourished in the yearsafter Carothers as never before, and led to the creation of anew industry – vibrant, useful, and exciting. The greatness ofCarothers lies in the profound, yet simple questions he asked,and the clarity and definitiveness with which he provided theanswers. In a short working span of eleven years, he leftbehind an incredible legacy of achievements which ordinarymortals cannot even dream of accomplishing in several lifetimes.This article chronicles the life and times of WallaceCarothers, the men and the institutions that inspired him,his seminal contributions to polymer chemistry; the mood ofmelancholy that permeated his persona and which ultimatelycost him his life.

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