Allcock publishes new materials chemistry textbook

October 08, 2008

Harry R. Allcock, Penn State Evan Pugh Professor of Chemistry, is the author of a new textbook, titled "Introduction to Materials Chemistry," which has been published by John Wiley & Sons. The 432-page book is a qualitative overview of the fundamental areas of materials science. It is designed to serve as a starting point for students who have no previous experience in materials science and also to encourage readers to delve more deeply into specific topics. While textbooks about materials science traditionally are written from an engineering/physics perspective, Allcock's book is written from a chemistry perspective and is not mathematics-based.

For several years, Allcock has taught a course in materials chemistry, which is taken by students in the first year of their graduate program in chemistry and by undergraduates in chemistry and related fields. He also conducts research at the interface between inorganic and organic chemistry, polymer chemistry, and materials science. In particular, his research involves the design and synthesis of new polymers that contain organic components, together with heteroelements such as phosphorus, silicon, boron, or transition metals. He was the discoverer of a major class of polymers known as polyphosphazenes, which can be customized for use in fuel cells, flame retardants, and medical prostheses, among other things. He also discovered a new class of molecular-inclusion compounds known as clathrates, which have been used to separate a wide variety of small organic molecules and high polymers, and which also serve as nanoscale templates for addition polymerizations.

Allcock has received numerous awards for his research, including the American Chemical Society (ACS) National Award in Polymer Chemistry in 1984, the ACS Award in Materials Chemistry in 1992, and the ACS Herman Mark Award in Polymer Chemistry in 1994. He was a Guggenheim Fellow in 1986 and 1987, and he received the American Institute of Chemists Chemical Pioneer Award in 1989. In 2006, Allcock was awarded an honorary doctoral degree by Loughborough University in the United Kingdom.

Allcock has authored or coauthored more than 530 peer-reviewed papers, and he is the author of three research monographs on inorganic-organic rings and polymers. In 2003, he authored a book titled "Chemistry and Applications of Polyphosphazenes," which is based on his pioneering research carried out at Penn State.

Allcock received his bachelor's and doctoral degrees in chemistry from the University of London in the United Kingdom in 1953 and 1956, respectively. He was a postdoctoral fellow at Purdue University in the United States in 1956 and 1957 and at the National Research Council of Canada from 1958 to 1960. He was a research chemist at the American Cyanamid Laboratories in Stamford, Connecticut from 1961 to 1966. In 1966, he joined the faculty at Penn State as associate professor. He was promoted to professor in 1970 and was named Evan Pugh Professor of Chemistry in 1985. As a professor at Penn State, he has directed the training of more than 130 graduate students and postdoctoral scientists, as well as numerous undergraduates. He also has been a visiting scientist at Stanford University, the Imperial College of Science and Technology in the United Kingdom, and IBM Almaden Laboratories in California.

Harry Allcock: (+1) 814-865-3527,
Barbara Kennedy (PIO): (+1) 814-863-4682,

Penn State

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