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American Award for Polish Chemist
March 27, 2013   
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A Polish chemist working at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in the United States, has received a $75,000 award from an international industrial corporation for inventing a cutting-edge polymer synthesis method.

The invention has met with wide recognition in industry. The researcher, Krzysztof Matyjaszewski, is the first Pole to receive the inaugural AkzoNobel North America Science Award in chemistry.

Matyjaszewski, who graduated from the Faculty of Chemistry at the Technical University of £ód¼, Poland, received the award for innovation in the field of polymer chemistry, primarily for developing the so-called atom-transfer radical-polymerization (ATRP) method, which allows for controlled synthesis of macromolecules with a well-defined structure. With this method, it is possible to obtain polymers with an unprecedented design and properties at a reasonable cost. By changing various conditions of the ATRP reaction, it is possible to precisely control the composition of the polymers and their architecture with a catalyst that adds one or more monomers at a time to the growing polymer chain, experts say.

By means of the ATRP method, polymers and copolymers can be produced for use as adhesives, sealants or paint components. The method also makes it possible to conduct research on drug delivery, bone regeneration and other biomedical applications. Companies from Japan and the United States were the first to use the ATRP method for the industrial production of polymers. Two consortia established at Carnegie Mellon University by Matyjaszewski have brought together 50 companies interested in developing and implementing new technology based on the ATRP method.

On the American Chemical Society website, David A. Tirrell of the California Institute of Technology described the ATRP method developed by Matyjaszewski as the most important advance in synthetic polymer chemistry in the last half-century.

Matyjaszewski is widely viewed in the scientific community as a leading Polish candidate for the Nobel Prize in chemistry.

The AkzoNobel North America Science Award is worth $75,000. It will be officially presented in the spring of 2013 at a national convention of the American Chemical Society in New Orleans.
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