UA professor awarded for polymer chemistry research

By Melanie Klein

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Hard work in the laboratory paid off after 31 years when a UA chemistry professor was awarded the American Chemical Society award for research in polymer chemistry.

Henry K. Hall Jr. has been awarded the 1996 American Chemical Society Award for Polymer Chemistry. Hall will receive $5,000 with the award at a symposium sponsored by the American Chemical Society in March.

Hall is the second UA chemist to win the prize. The first was the late Carl S. "Speed" Marvel, who won it in 1964.

Hall has been with the university since 1969 and served as head of the Chemistry Department from 1970-72.

"There's been a symmetry to winning the award. It's nice to be recognized for the work done here," said Anne Padias, an instructional lab coordinator who worked on the research project with Hall.

The project studied how molecules could be made to link together in new ways to produce useful polymers for optics, electronics and medicine, Padias said.

Hall said the research involved creating new plastic materials for special high-tech applications. The new plastics are able to carry electrical currents, transmit light and emit light.

The plastic electrical conductor will be used to create new lightweight organic batteries that will be environmentally safe, Padias said.

Plastics that modulate light will be used in optical computers, now being developed, to allow light to replace electrons and make the computers faster, said Padias.

Optical switches will replace the way computers store information, Padias said.

Currently, Hall said, he and his research group are collaborating with the UA's new $10 million dollar Center for Advanced Multifunctional Polymers, directed by Nasser Peyghambarian, to develop advanced organic optical material and devices for optoelectronics in military and high-tech systems.

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