AMHERST, MASS. — Plastics Hall of Fame member Roger S. Porter, 70, the first head of the University of Massachusetts polymer science and engineering department, died Aug. 25 after a long illness.
Porter was named to the Hall of Fame in 1991. His research at UMass helped develop a micro-thin polyethylene strand that pound-for-pound was claimed to be the strongest material known to science.
Porter began his career as a research chemist at Chevron Research, a unit of Chevron Corp. He came to Massachusetts in 1966 and played a key role in building one of the largest polymer science and engineering departments in the world. He retired in 1997.
``He was unusually committed to the department. He was careful of its reputation and guarded it very zealously,'' said Frank Karasz, a UMass professor who first met Porter when they attended graduate school in 1954.
Porter was awarded an honorary doctorate from UMass in 1996. He also received the Chancellor's Medal, the University's highest award for service.
He is survived by his wife and four children.