Elected in 1995
“For contributions to the understanding of transport processes and polymer radiation chemistry in polymers.”
BY DONALD R. PAUL
VIVIAN THOMAS STANNETT, Camille Dreyfus Professor Emeritus of Chemical Engineering and dean emeritus of the Graduate School at North Carolina State University, died October 1, 2002, at the age of 85. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1995 for his original contributions to the understanding of transport processes and radiation chemistry in polymers.
An internationally renowned polymer scientist/engineer, Vivian pioneered the use of high-energy radiation to form new polymers or alter existing ones through cross-linking, grafting, and degradation. A recognized leader in the study and application of membrane science and technology, his work contributed to the development of a wide range of beneficial products, including super-absorbent paper towels and diapers and flame-resistant textiles. He also worked extensively on chemical modifications of cellulose and applications of polymers to pulp, paper, and textiles.
Vivian was born on September 1, 1917, to a farming family in Langley, England. Much to his father’s distress, he had no desire to take up farming. Interested in chemistry from an early age, he carried out experiments on his own in an abandoned railway carriage on the family’s property. In 1936, he took another step toward fulfilling his dream of becoming a scientist by enrolling in the London Polytechnic to study chemistry; he graduated with a B.S. in 1939.