Ton Peijs is awarded the Swinburne Medal & Prize

15 April 2010

Ton Peijs (back row 3rd right) and his group
Ton Peijs (back row 3rd right) and his group
Ton Peijs has been awarded one of the Premier Awards for 2010 of the Institute of Materials Minerals and Mining. The award is to recognise the achievement of a person who has made an outstanding contribution to the advancement and knowledge of any field related to the science, engineering or technology of plastics. Awarded not more than once every two years, the Award has been running since 1960 and among its past winners are world leading polymer scientists such as KW Ziegler, HF Mark, LRG Treloar, A Keller and IM Ward. It is a requirement of acceptance that the recipient shall prepare and deliver the Swinburne Lecture on an occasion selected by the Institute.

The award is named after Sir James Swinburne (1858-1958), who is regarded as the ‘Father of the British Plastics Industry’ as he worked to patent an important new plastic made by mixing phenol and formaldehyde. This dark, resinous product had first been formed some thirty years earlier by German chemist Adolf von Bayer. Swinburne considerably improved the method of preparing the resin, using a catalyst to accelerate production. Unknown to him, a chemist working independently in America, Belgian-born Leo Hendrik Baekeland, also recognised the resin's value. He patented the material in 1907, one day earlier than Swinburne, and named it Bakelite. After World War I, Swinburne and Baekeland agreed to merge their businesses into Bakelite Ltd., which eventually became part of Union Carbide Corp.
Contact:James Busfield

Updated by: James Busfield