Russell A. Livigni, Ph.D., an Akron native and University of Akron alumnus, will be awarded the 2013 Charles Goodyear Medal for his pioneering work with high trans rubber. The medal is the most prestigious award given by the Rubber Division of the American Chemical Society and honors an individual for outstanding invention, innovation, or development that results in significant change or contribution to the nature of the rubber industry.
Livigni was the principal scientist in the discovery and development of barium-based catalysts for the polymerization of butadiene and its copolymerization with styrene to give high trans rubbers with low vinyl content.
He began his rubber industry career with Firestone in 1952 – the same year he graduated from high school – with a position in the control laboratory of the tire maker’s synthetic rubber development facility. He went on to attend The University of Akron, earning a B.S. in chemistry in 1956 and a doctorate in polymer chemistry in 1960.
As an undergraduate, Livigni was a research assistant in the Institute of Rubber Research and earned the Merck Award for undergraduate chemistry majors. As a doctoral student, he was honored with both a Firestone Tire & Rubber Company Fellowship and a National Science Foundation Fellowship.
After earning his Ph.D., Livigni spent one year as a research scientist at Ford Motor Company’s scientific laboratory in Dearborn, Mich., before returning to Akron as a senior research chemist for the General Tire & Rubber Company, which later became GenCorp. He retired from GenCorp as vice president of corporate technology with 35 years of service to consult for OMNOVA, a GenCorp spinoff. Presently, he is a consultant in polymer and rubber chemistry and R&D organization.
Livigni holds 37 U.S. patents and has authored numerous technical papers and chapters in rubber technology and polymer textbooks. His impressive career also includes the discovery of high trans SBR, a crystallizing rubber now used in tires, and an integral involvement in the development and commercialization of Telagen and polyoxypropylene polyols.
A past chairman of the Gordon Elastomers Conference (1978), Livigni is a member of the Advisory Council of the Akron Council of Engineering and Scientific Societies (ACESS) and received its Distinguished Award of Council in 1991. He also was honored by the Rubber Division of the American Chemical Society in 1997 with its Melvin Mooney Distinguished Technology Award and by The University of Akron Alumni Association in 2002 with its Alumni Honor Award.
Livigni is a member of the American Chemical Society and its Polymer and Rubber Divisions, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Industrial Research Institute. He also sponsors the Dr. Russell A. Livigni Graduate Fellowship in The University of Akron's Department of Chemistry and serves on the board and Stewardship Committee of The University of Akron Foundation, as well as the University’s advisory boards in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Chemistry Department.
Previously, Livigni served on the board of directors and executive board of the Edison Polymer Innovation Corporation, the Executive Advisory Board of the Tire Town Chapter of the International Association of Administrative Professionals, and the Advancement Council of The University of Akron’s College of Polymer Science & Polymer Engineering.
The Charles Goodyear Medal will be presented to Livigni in April 2013 during the Rubber Division’s annual spring meeting in Akron.