Dr. Robert Armstrong describes his childhood in Nebraska and Arizona and how he managed to support himself through undergraduate and graduate studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He remembers the faculty at MIT and the support some of his teachers gave him during his stay there. After completing his graduate research, Armstrong moved to the U.S. Rubber Company, where he coupled investigations of rubber vulcanization with pioneering research on radical polymerization. Early on, Armstrong recognized the value of systematic studies of copolymerization. During World War II, he was persuaded to work at the North American Rayon Company. Soon after the war ended, Armstrong started his career at the Celanese Corporation, which lasted until his retirement. He describes his functions as he progressed up the corporate ladder and also outlines his involvement with the establishment of the Research Triangle Institute.
James J. Bohning was professor emeritus of chemistry at Wilkes University, where he had been a faculty member from 1959 to 1990. He served there as chemistry department chair from 1970 to 1986 and environmental science department chair from 1987 to 1990. Bohning was chair of the American Chemical Society’s Division of the History of Chemistry in 1986; he received the division’s Outstanding Paper Award in 1989 and presented more than forty papers at national meetings of the society. Bohning was on the advisory committee of the society’s National Historic Chemical Landmarks Program from its inception in 1992 through 2001 and is currently a consultant to the committee. He developed the oral history program of the Chemical Heritage Foundation, and he was CHF’s director of oral history from 1990 to 1995. From 1995 to 1998, Bohning was a science writer for the News Service group of the American Chemical Society. In May 2005, he received the Joseph Priestley Service Award from the Susquehanna Valley Section of the American Chemical Society. Bohning passed away in September 2011.
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