Wallace Carothers

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Wallace Hume Carothers
Wallace Carothers, in the lab.jpg
Born(1896-04-27)April 27, 1896
Burlington, Iowa, United States
DiedApril 29, 1937(1937-04-29) (aged 41)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Cause of deathSuicide
Alma materUniversity of Illinois
Known forInvention of neoprene and nylon
Scientific career
FieldsOrganic chemistry
Doctoral advisorRoger Adams

Wallace Hume Carothers (/kəˈrʌðərz/; April 27, 1896 – April 29, 1937) was an American chemist and inventor. He was the leader of organic chemistry at DuPont. He is known for the invention of nylon.[1]

Carothers went to the University of Illinois to study for his Ph.D. under Roger Adams. His degree was awarded in 1924. After receiving his Ph.D., he taught at several universities before joining DuPont. He was a group leader at the DuPont Experimental Station laboratory. The laboratory was near Wilmington, Delaware and it was where most polymer research was done.[2]

He married Helen Sweetman on February 21, 1936. On April 28, 1937 he committed suicide by drinking potassium cyanide.[3][4] His daughter, Jane, was born on November 27, 1937.

References[change | change source]

  1. Hermes, Matthew. Enough for One Lifetime. Wallace Carothers, Inventor of Nylon, Chemical Heritage Foundation, 1996, ISBN 0-8412-3331-4.
  2. Roberts, RM (1989) Serendipity: Accidental discoveries In Science, John Wiley & Sons, Inc. ISBN 0-471-60203-5
  3. Burton, Holman, Lazonby, Pilling & Waddington, Chemical Storylines, Heinemann Educational Publishers, 2000. ISBN 0-435-63119-5
  4. Lee, A., "Wallace Carothers: Tragedy of the father of Nylon", Daily Express, Feb. 23, 2015.