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Über dieses Buch

Polymer science is now an active and thriving community of scientists, engineers and technologists, but there was a time, not so long ago, when there was no such community. The prehistory of polymer science helps to provide key insights into current issues and historical problems. The story will be divided into an ancient period ( from Greek times to the creation of the molecular consensus), a nascent period (from Dalton to Kekule to van’t Hoff) and a period of paradigm formation and controversy (from Staudinger to Mark to Carothers). The prehistory concludes with an account of the epochal 1935 Discussion of the Faraday Society on “Polymerization”. After this meeting an active community engaged in trying to solve the central problems defined by the discussions.



Chapter 1. Introduction

Polymer science is now a thriving multidisciplinary scientific community. It is composed of scientists, engineers, technologists and industrialists from a very wide range of academic communities: mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, chemical engineering, materials science and engineering, mechanical engineering, plastics engineering, dentistry, textile engineering, and many more. What unites this disparate group is a belief that the material world contains substances that can best be understood in terms of extended macromolecular structures: polymers. While the word polymer simply means “many repeat units”, and while many actual substances that are not molecular in nature have been referred to as polymers, the present treatise will focus on the growth in understanding of substances that are genuinely macromolecular.
Gary Patterson

Chapter 2. Materia Polymerica

One of the great French explorers of the eighteenth century was Charles Marie de la Condamine (1701–1774).
Gary Patterson

Chapter 3. The Faraday Society and the Birth of Polymer Science*

Another lens through which to view the birth of polymer science is the foremost community of physical chemists in the early twentieth century, The Faraday Society.
Gary Patterson

Chapter 4. Musings on the Prehistory of Polymer Science

The formation of a viable research paradigm requires many factors to be aligned. There needs to be a coherent collection of observable phenomena that requires the paradigm in order to comprehend the facts. Since there are polymers everywhere in the natural world, what set of observations provoked a search for an appropriate paradigm? The discovery of rubber elasticity by the European scientific community spurred the search for a way to comprehend the strange properties of this pure natural material.
Gary Patterson


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