Wallace Carothers, US chemist

Wallace Carothers, US chemist

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Credit: HAGLEY MUSEUM AND ARCHIVE/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Caption: Wallace Hume Carothers (1896-1937), US industrial chemist, handling a sample of neoprene. Carothers studied at the University of Illinois, receiving his doctorate in 1924. In 1927, he left academia and joined DuPont to direct fundamental research in organic chemistry. He worked on polymers at the DuPont Experimental Station near near Wilmington, Delaware. By 1930, his team had invented neoprene. This synthetic rubber had a high tensile strength and higher resistance to heat than the natural product. The same year, his team also invented a new fibre that was called nylon. Carothers, severely manic-depressive, committed suicide in 1937.

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