Program in Polymer Science and Technology

The Program in Polymer Science and Technology (PPST), founded in 1986, is an interdepartmental program offering graduate education in the interdisciplinary field of polymer science and engineering. Its goals are to provide educational opportunities and to foster a spirit of community and collaboration among the large and wide-spread group of students, faculty, and visitors involved in polymer-related activities at MIT. It consists of a core curriculum, written and oral qualifying procedures for doctoral studies, and continuing education opportunities through seminars, visitors from industry and academia, and research competitions. The program is administered by faculty from the Departments of Materials Science and Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Chemistry. PPST also serves as a focal point for information and opportunities in polymer-related fields at MIT.

There were 34 students enrolled in PPST in AY2002, with home departments in the four disciplines from which PPST draws its faculty. This year the program graduated four students with PhD degrees. Six new PPST students were admitted into the program from the Departments of Chemical Engineering (four) and Materials Science and Engineering (two).

Two new professors were added to the PPST faculty: Professor Darrell Irvine from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, and Professor Pat Doyle from the Department of Chemical Engineering. Professor Ali Argon (Mechanical Engineering) and Professor Ed Merrill (Chemical Engineering) both stepped down from PPST faculty positions due to retirement.

The PPST weekly seminar continues to attract an average of 50–80 students, faculty, and visitors per seminar. This past year, lectures were presented by leading polymer faculty from a number of US and European universities as well as from faculty and senior students within MIT. Professor Paula Hammond (Chemical Engineering) continued in her role as organizer for the seminar series through the fall term; Professor Christine Ortiz (Materials Science and Engineering) took over seminar organization beginning with the spring term.

In spring 2002 PPST instituted the first OMNOVA Signature award for excellence in polymer research, sponsored by the OMNOVA Foundation. This competition produced two student awardees, Amy Grayson and Xueping Ziang, who each received a cash award and invitations to present their award winning research in a special PPST seminar. The awardees' faculty advisors, Professor Michael Cima, Professor Bob Langer and Professor Paula Hammond, were also recognized.

Gregory C. Rutledge
Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering

More information about the Program in Polymer Science and Technology can be found on the web at


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