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CMU chemistry professor wins award for polymer research

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Krzysztof Matyjaszewski, 62, of Shadyside

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Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013, 12:06 p.m.

Carnegie Mellon University professor Krzysztof “Kris” Matyjaszewski has won the inaugural $75,000 AkzoNobel North America Science Award for his ground-breaking polymer chemistry research.

The award recognizes outstanding scientific contributions in chemistry and materials research in the United States and Canada.

Officials with AkzoNobel and the American Chemical Society said Matyjaszewski delivered leading-edge research that will help advance the field of polymer chemistry, the area of chemistry that generates advances in everyday products and materials such as building materials, furniture, paints and plastics.

They said Matyjaszewski's achievements include the discovery of atom radical transfer polymerization, an innovative process related to how macromolecules are made.

Matyjaszewski, 62, of Shadyside is a native of Poland. He said he's honored by the award and attributed his success, in part, to the many students and visitors who assisted him over the years.

“Our society faces problems with energy, with some life science issues and with the environment. And if we can contribute somehow to solve these problems that would be great,” he said.

“At the same time, we need to understand fundamentals of science. Without an understanding of this you cannot solve these problems.”

Matyjaszewski is the J.C. Warner University Professor of Natural Sciences at Carnegie Mellon University's Mellon College of Science and the director of the Center for Macromolecular Engineering. He has received more than 20 major science awards, including the 2011 Wolf Prize in Chemistry, the 2009 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award and the ACS 2011 Applied Polymer Science Award.

Debra Erdley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-320-7996 or

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