100 People and Innovations That Shaped The Rubber Industry


The Rubber Division, ACS asked their members and colleagues in the rubber industry to help them determine the top 100 people and innovations that have shaped the industry. These individuals are scientists, corporate executives, members of the Rubber Division, or any individual that has made substantial contributions to the rubber industry. The innovations are anything important that helped move the industry in a new direction or were previously undiscovered.

Several people from The University of Akron were included on the list:

  • Alan N. Gent, Professor Emeritus of Polymer Physics and Polymer Engineering at The University of Akron. Gent has received many awards for his fundamental contributions to the physics of adhesion and fracture of elastomers.
  • Charles M. Knight taught the first semester long course in rubber chemistry at The University of Akron in 1909.
  • George S. Whitby was known for his work on plantation rubber and the development of organic accelerators for vulcanization. Whitby directed the rubber research program during World War II at the University of Akron.
  • Hezzleton Simmons was a pioneer in teaching rubber chemistry at the University of Akron. He was president of the University from 1933-1951.
  • James L. White started the Polymer Engineering department at the University of Akron in 1983. He is an internationally recognized expert on the mathematical modeling of rubber mixing and rheology.
  • Joseph Kennedy, Distinguished Professor of Polymer Science and Chemistry at The University of Akron. He pioneered the field of cationic polymerization and his invention of the polystyrene-polyisobutylene-polystyrene thermoplastic elastomer is the basis of a biocompatible polymer coating on a drug-eluting cardiovascular stent, which has been implanted in about 5 million patients worldwide.
  • Maurice Morton expanded the scope of the Rubber Research Institute to become the Polymer Science Institute at The University of Akron. He also established the PhD in Polymer Science program at UA.