Portrait of American chemist and American Chemical Society president (1965) Charles C. Price (1913-2001). This portrait was taken in Kyoto, Japan in 1962, while Price was teaching at Osaka University and Kyoto University as a Fulbright Professor. An instructor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, the University of Notre Dame, and the University of Pennsylvania, Price is best known as a pioneer of polymer science and inventor of polyether polyurethane foam rubber, which became widely used in sponges, insulation and building materials, flotation devices, and packaging.
Charles C. Price was born on July 13, 1913 in Passaic, New Jersey, the first child of Thornton Walton Price, a mechanical engineer, and Helen Marot Farley. At age six, Price notably lost his right hand in an accident with a box of exploding dynamite caps. In 1934, Price graduated from Swarthmore College with a B.A. in chemistry and subsequently earned both a Masters (1935) and Ph.D. from Harvard University (1936), where he studied under organic chemist Louis Fieser (1899-1977). In addition to his academic career, Price also ran as the Democratic nominee for Indiana's 3rd congressional district in the 1952 election and served as President of the American Chemical Society (ACS) in 1965. Price was also an active Quaker and an advocate for nuclear disarmament, serving on committees including the Commission to Study the Organization of Peace, the Council for a Livable World, and the Committee on a Sane Nuclear Policy (SANE). Charles C. Price died at his home in Haverford, Pennsylvania on February 11, 2001.
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