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Flory, Paul Johnlocked

(19 June 1910–08 September 1985)
  • Michael Chayut


Flory, Paul John (19 June 1910–08 September 1985), Nobel Prize-winning polymer chemist, Nobel Prize–winning polymer chemist, was born in Sterling, Illinois, the son of Ezra Flory, a Brethren minister and teacher, and Martha Brumbaugh, a schoolteacher. Flory’s parents were the first in their families to go to college. In 1927 Flory entered Manchester College, a Brethren liberal arts college in North Manchester, Indiana. Carl Holl, who was the professor of chemistry at Manchester College, kindled Flory’s interest in chemistry. After Flory completed his degree at Manchester in the summer of 1930, Holl encouraged him to go on to graduate work in chemistry at Ohio State University. Judging his preparation in mathematics to be inadequate, Flory decided to take his M.S. in organic chemistry, which requires less mathematics. Flory did his M.S. thesis in organic synthesis in Cecil Boord’s laboratory. Flory’s laboratory notebooks reveal that his interest in polymers was first aroused during that time. Told that polymers are “a nuisance to avoid,” Flory discontinued his early attempts to understand polymers. Flory would later act to promote polymer education in American universities....

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