The famous quote tells us that the stone age ended not when people ran out of stones but when newer technologies replaced the obsolete past. As centuries go past, technology renewal is progressively faster and radically newer opportunities come around increasingly more often. Arguably the single most important determinant of success at the same time the result of this technology renewal is the new materials that are used to make everything we use in our daily life, from insulated windows to mobile phones and light-wear fleece jackets. Many of these materials are based on polymers (often also termed “macromolecules”). Polymer science is relatively new, and being less than 100 years old is much younger than the science of clays or metals. In developing synthetic polymers, man drew inspiration from Nature and by now built up an incredibly diverse arsenal of tools and opportunities associated with the polymer-based materials. During this lecture, I will attempt to present the natural polymers, discuss how this inspired the scientists to make synthetic polymers, and will give a few examples of polymeric materials that illustrate their unique status among all other materials.
Institut for Kemi, AU