Yoshi Okamoto Named Director of Historic Polymer Research Institute

President Jerry Hultin appointed Yoshi Okamoto the Director of the Polymer Research Institute (PRI). Okamoto received his PhD in Organic Chemistry from Purdue University in 1956 and later came to Poly to pursue his interest in the synthesis, characterization, and application of new functionalized polymeric materials.

PRI was founded in 1942 by Herman F. Mark and quickly became a magnet for anyone who wanted to study or teach polymer chemistry, attracting people from all over the United States and the world. The program at PRI was unique because it stressed all areas of polymer science: organic chemistry, physical chemistry, and biochemistry as well as industrial applications. Over 1500 polymer scientists and engineers have studied at PRI as students, postdoctoral fellows or visiting scholars. The American Chemical Society designated the Institute as a National Historic Chemical Landmark in 2003.

Okamoto is planning a variety of activities to revitalize PRI and strengthen its commitment to interdisciplinary polymer research. These activities include plans to organize a symposium to celebrate the 65th anniversary of PRI and the creation of a Herman F. Mark Memorial Conference Room.