Paul J. Flory
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1974
Born: 19 June 1910, Sterling, IL, USA
Died: 8 September 1985, Big Sur, CA, USA
Affiliation at the time of the award: Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA
Prize motivation: "for his fundamental achievements, both theoretical and experimental, in the physical chemistry of the macromolecules."
Prize share: 1/1
Plastic material is composed of polymers - very large molecules that take the form of long chains of smaller molecules. In the mid-1930s Paul Flory found that a polymer dissolved in a solvent becomes somewhat outstretched because of forces between the polymer's and the solvent's parts. When the temperature is lowered, the polymer contracts. Paul Flory established a temperature at which the forces balance one another. The polymer's length is then similar to its length in an undissolved state. He also defined a constant that summarizes the polymer solution's properties.
Their work and discoveries range from the formation of black holes and genetic scissors to efforts to combat hunger and develop new auction formats.
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