Carothers, Wallace Hume (kərŭħˈərz) [key], 1896–1937, American chemist, b. Burlington, Iowa. He received his doctorate at the Univ. of Illinois in 1924, then taught organic chemistry there and at Harvard. In 1928 he was made head of the research group in organic chemistry of the E. I. du Pont de Nemours company in Wilmington, Del. His work there on compounds of high molecular weight led to the discovery of the first synthetic rubber, neoprene. While with du Pont, he also investigated the physical and chemical properties of polyamides, showing that these compounds could be melt-spun into fibers or made into transparent film. This work resulted in the discovery of nylon.
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