‘Just One Word Plastics’

Readers of a certain age may remember this line from one of the biggest movies of 1967: “There’s a great future in plastics.” In the movie “The Graduate,” starring Dustin Hoffman, plastics was a metaphor for what was superficial in American life in the 1960s. Literally, though, the statement was prescient. Synthetic polymers now are so integral to modern life that it’s difficult not to encounter them in the course of an ordinary day.

The ubiquity of synthetic polymers was on my mind as I prepared to travel to Cleveland on June 6. The department of macromolecular science and engineering of Case Western Reserve University hosted a conference, MACRO Frontiers 2013, to celebrate its 50-year anniversary. By the time you read this page, macromolecular experts from Case Western and 12 other institutions will have regaled participants with the new paths they are forging for plastics and other polymers.

By A. Maureen Rouhi
C& E News Editor-in-Chief
American Chemical Society

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