William H. Starnes, Jr. awarded American Institute of Chemists 2019 Chemical Pioneer Award
William H. Starnes, Jr., Gottwald Professor Emeritus of the College of William and Mary and a Georgia Tech School of Chemistry and Biochemistry alumnus, has been awarded the American Institute of Chemists 2019 Chemical Pioneer Award. This award recognizes chemists and chemical engineers who have made “outstanding contributions that have had a major impact on advances in the chemical sciences and industry.”
Over his long and distinguished career, Professor Starnes made many fundamental and practical discoveries important to the development of poly(vinyl chloride) (PVC) as a ubiquitous material in modern life. These included (1) the development of a method to determine PVC microstructure, (2) investigation of PVC structural defects, (3) elucidation of the mechanistic pathways for the thermal decomposition and stabilization of PVC, (4) determination of the mechanistic origins of smoke suppressants, fire retardants, and thermal stabilizers used in PVC, and (5) the discovery of novel copolymers of vinyl chloride. Professor Starnes was the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry’s first recipient of our Outstanding Alumnus Award, and he has endowed the Starnes Graduate Fellowship, awarded to 3rd and 4th year graduate students in recognition of research excellence.