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Chemical Heritage Fdn.
Inventing Polymer Science: Staudinger, Carothers and the Emergence of Macromolecular Chemistry
Polymer science is central to material and intellectual life in the 20th century. Polymer chemistry and engineering have led not only to such substances as synthetic fibers, synthetic rubber, and plastic, but also to discoveries about proteins, DNA, and other biological compounds that have revolutionized Western medicine. In Inventing Polymer Science, Yasu Furukawa explores the history of modern polymer science by tracing its emergence from macromolecular chemistry, its true beginning. Furukawa's lively book gains human interest through its focus on two central figures, Hermann Staudinger and Wallace Carothers. He examines the origins and development of their scientific work, illuminates their different styles in research and professional activities, and contrasts the peculiar institutional and social milieux in which they pursued their goals. In the process he provides us with a richly contextualized history of the emergence of macromolecular chemistry.
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