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Wallace Carothers

( The inventor of nylon.)

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Biography Wallace Carothers
Many people stayed in the memory of future generations simply because once established, and called their names companies that have succeeded after tens or even hundreds of years. And there are people whose names were forgotten almost immediately after their death, although it was they, these companies were largely due to its prosperity. Such, for example, Wallace Carothers, DuPont employee and inventor of nylon.
Wallace Carothers was born in 1896 in Burlington, Iowa. The young man is little disturbed, except for formulas and molecules. In 1915, not even graduated from college, Wallace received an invitation to become a teacher of chemistry at the University of Illinois. In the 1926-meters, barely getting his doctorate, Carothers became a professor at Harvard University. Finally, in 1928-m a young professor, is famous for research, headed the department of organic chemistry in an experimental laboratory of the company DuPont (the year before the company contributed $ 20 thousand. funding basic research). At his disposal expensive equipment, the best technicians and complete freedom of action. For 33 years Carothers became so famous that his opinion interests of the leading chemists of the world. He was even elected to their ranks of the National Academy of Sciences, hitherto not recognized by scientists working in the industry.
Carothers, it seems easy to go through life - a brilliant career, research successes, stable earnings. But his personal life is not formed. The heavy nature does not allow to find friends. While in college, Wally found support only from teachers, who quickly got used to his lonely figure vozyascheysya with flasks. Teachers have long been resigned to the fact that the 18-year-old boy is not worse than they are versed in science, which they have devoted all my life. Most often they turned to him for advice rather than try to learn something. Closed and uncommunicative, Carothers irritated classmates this strange, crazy passion for chemistry. Above it often mocked and laughed in the face. In response, he just turned away and went. Selflessly working nights at DuPont, Carothers demand the same attitude to work and their staff. Because of this, a team has encountered friction. Sometimes colleagues ignored his instructions, and Carothers, who had never been able to find compromises in dealing with people acutely experienced these conflicts. But no one complained. It seems that Wallace is not too worried about someone else's opinion. But he just managed to keep the apparent indifference of the soul is raging passions. He calmed down, only listening to "Moonlight Sonata" by Beethoven, or experiencing the love of suffering heroes of Shakespeare. And only in order to give the restored power to their studies, which he dedicated his life.
Wallace was just really happy at work. Even as a university professor, Carothers every evening closed in a small laboratory and studied polymers. One day, experimenting with the so-called molecular cube, allowing pulling the molecule, he noted that some compounds derived from the fibers have a very interesting property: after stretching they return to original form. In this case fibers are very strong and elastic. Carothers realized that stands on the threshold of great discovery, in which mankind can obtain the new material. But the catch: the melting point of compounds have interested him was too low and not suitable for industrial scale. Since then, the thought of a new material with the miracle properties leave Carothers for a second. However, to solve the puzzle he needed another 10 years of research.

And while he can not find an understanding, even a young wife. Helen is unable to understand what kind of "material of the future" all the time interprets her husband and what kind of long molecules that require high melting point, his dreams at night. Carothers is closed in itself, but "the material of the future" becomes the intent and purpose of life. Friends and wife are increasingly irritated by his. Wallace can no longer help Beethoven and Shakespeare, for many years remained his only real friends. It is increasingly experiencing excruciating bouts of depression and begins to resort to "cure-all" - alcohol. Nevertheless, in 1935, Carothers has its. He discovered a formula that fully satisfies the needs of industrial
February 16, 1937 Wallace Carothers patents a new synthetic material - adipamid poligeksametilena. Research are already in full refinement, but at this time Wallace understands that needs treatment in a psychiatric hospital: alcohol had exhausted him, depression is becoming more. From the hospital, he returned in April and it seems calm and peaceful. Actually it is only a mask, long-standing habit of hiding emotions. After treatment, Carothers, suddenly realizes that the most important thing in this life, he had already made. And is incredible: he is lost all interest in chemistry. April 29, 1937, two days after his 41 th birthday, alone in the hotel room of Philadelphia, Carothers took cyanide. His wife was on the second month of pregnancy ...
In November 1937 Helen Carothers had a daughter who was named Jane. February 24, 1938-th in Arlington, New Jersey, DuPont has made a trial batch Carothers invented a material which was called nylon. October 24, 1939 On one of the department of Wilmington was sold to cheer small quantity of nylon stockings - the first product in the manufacture of which was applied to nylon. A May 15, 1940 sale of nylon stockings held in New York, whose result exceeded all expectations: just a day and costs $ 1,15 - 1,35 was sold 5 million. pairs.
Name Carothers at that time was almost forgotten. It remains somewhat ordinary-looking photos, some vague memories of his colleagues and rumors about the possible causes of suicide - and all. DuPont remembered the man who made her richer by a billion (now DuPont nylon is earning $ 4.5 billion. year), only in 1946 - the name Carothers was named one of the research laboratories of DuPont.


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