ABSTRACT

Anionic polymerization, especially alkyllithium-initiated polymerization of styrenes and dienes, is a truly living polymerization that proceeds in the absence of the kinetic steps of chain termination and chain transfer. The major discoveries in the science and technology of anionic polymerization are chronicled herein. My introduction to this fascinating science is also described. This includes research and training at Phillips Petroleum Company (1974) with Dr. Henry Hsieh and a sabbatical leave at The University of Akron (1976–1977) with Professors Maurice Morton and Lewis J. Fetters. Also detailed is the initiation of my formal anionic polymerization research career at Midland Macromolecular Institute (MMI) in 1979 with outstanding colleagues Drs. Dale Meier, Karl Solc, and Hans Georg Elias. At MMI, I started research on the use of living, alkyllithium-initiated polymerization to prepare chain-end functionalized polymers. This developed into one of my most important research areas. Based on my research experience and publications at MMI, I was appointed Professor of Polymer Science at The University of Akron in 1983. This was the most significant development in my professional career. The University of Akron offered a graduate polymer research program with outstanding, world-class colleagues and facilities; excellent graduate students; a moderate, primarily graduate teaching responsibility; a supportive university administration; and an international reputation in polymer research and education. As described herein, at The University of Akron I was able to develop a comprehensive research program on anionic polymerization, especially in the area of functionalized elastomers, which was the basis for the American Chemical Society Rubber Division Award of the Goodyear Medal to me. A summary of the many research contributions of my outstanding graduate students, visiting scientists, and postdoctoral associates is included.

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