In 1900, Moses Gomberg, Professor of Chemistry at the University of Michigan, confirmed the existence of a stable, trivalent organic free radical: triphenylmethyl. In so doing, he challenged the then prevailing belief that carbon could have only four chemical bonds. Gomberg’s discovery made a major contribution to theoretical organic chemistry and fostered a field of research that continues to grow and expand. Today, organic free radicals are widely used in plastics and rubber manufacture, as well as medicine, agriculture and biochemistry.
The Polymer Research Institute was established in 1946 by Herman F. Mark, a pioneer in the study of giant molecules. The Institute brought together a number of polymer researchers to create the first academic facility in the United States devoted to the study and teaching of polymer science. Scientists associated with it later went on to establish polymer programs at other universities and institutions, contributing significantly to the development and growth of what has become a vital branch of chemistry, engineering, and materials science.
"I propose this evening to speak to you on a new kind of radiation or light emission from atoms and molecules." With these prophetic words, Professor C. V. Raman of Calcutta University began his lecture to the South Indian Science Association in Bangalore on March 16, 1928. Raman proceeded to describe a discovery that resulted from a deceptively simple experiment. Conducted far from the great centers of scientific research in the Western world, the results would capture the attention of scientists around the world and bring many accolades, including the Nobel Prize, to their discoverer.