Ron Chance obtained his PhD in physical chemistry from Dartmouth College in 1974 and immediately joined Allied Corportation (now Honeywell) working on electronic properties of organic materials. Dr. Chance and his coworkers at Allied (including Jean-Luc Bredas, now GaTech, and Ray Baughman, now UT-Dallas) made numerous fundamental contributions during the early days of the field of conducting polymers, especially with regard to the theoretical underpinnings. They also produced the first commercial application of conjugated polymers as time-temperature indicators for vaccines. This work led to a spin-off company (Timetemp Corporation), which still supplies indicators for vaccines administered in third world countries. Also, during that time, Dr. Chance and his coworkers (Al Prock at BU and Bob Silbey at MIT) produced the definitive theoretical framework for fluorescence emission and exciton quenching near electrode surfaces. That work continues to be highly cited as part of the continually growing interest in organic-based electronic devices.
Dr. Chance was named Fellow of the American Physical Society in 1986. That same year, he left Honeywell to join ExxonMobil (then Exxon Corporation) as Director of the Polymer and Fluids laboratory in their Corporate Research division in Clinton, New Jersey. In addition to conjugated polymers, his research interests expanded to more conventional polymer systems, polymer separations, and lubricant additives. After several internal management and non-management assignments, Dr. Chance was named Distinguished Scientific Advisor in 1998, the highest technical position within ExxonMobil. In that position, his primary technical interest has been molecular transport in porous materials, especially in relation to CO2 separations. Dr. Chance has served on a number of university advisory committees (University of Southern Mississippi, Purdue, MIT, Colorado) and continues to serve on advisory boards for Chemical Engineering at the University of Southern California and the GCEP program at Stanford University. He has over 130 peer-reviewed publications, edited two books, given over 100 invited talks, supervised four post-doctoral fellows, and chaired/co-chaired four international scientific meetings. Dr. Chance is co-inventor on over 20 US Patents covering sensors, conducting polymers, batteries, molecular separations, and a customer recognition system for ExxonMobil service stations.
At the end of August 2006, Dr. Chance retired from ExxonMobil. Concurrent with his retirement announcement, he was named Distinguished Scientific Advisor, Emeritus. In that role, he continues to maintain an office at ExxonMobil and participate in research related to CO2 transport. Beginning September 2006, he joined the faculty at Georgia Tech as Professor of Practice, with a joint appointment in the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry. Work in Chemical Engineering is in collaboration with Bill Koros and his coworkers on materials and systems for molecular separations. Work in Chemistry is in collaboration with Jean-Luc Bredas and his co-workers on electronic properties of organic materials. He also has an assignment with the Strategic Energy Institute to help formulate and implement Georgia Tech's strategy for energy-related research.