Hermann Staudinger, a German who coined the idea of ``polymerization'' in a 1920 technical paper, and three other industry leaders will become posthumous members of the Plastics Hall of Fame.
Two of the four have won the Nobel Prize in chemistry.
Induction of the posthumous members will be held during Antec 2008, the Society of Plastics Engineers' annual conference, May 4-8 in Milwaukee. The Plastics Academy will honor them with a May 4 banquet.
This marks the second posthumous Plastics Hall of Fame class to be open to non-U.S. citizens. The hall is at the National Plastics Center in Leominster, Mass.
Posthumous inductees for 2008 are Staudinger, Hermann Schnell, Alan MacDiarmid and John Swallow.
Staudinger is considered by many the father of polymer chemistry. His groundbreaking paper was called ``Über Polymerisation.'' He also coined the term ``macromolecules.''
Staudinger won the 1953 Nobel Prize for chemistry, for his work to show how monomers can be joined in various processes to create polymer chains. This laid the groundwork for the modern plastics industry.
He founded the Institute for Macromolecular Chemistry at Albert Ludwigs University in Freiburg, Germany, in 1940.
He died in 1965.
As a scientist at Bayer AG in Germany, he invented polycarbonate in 1953. Polycarbonate - both Bayer's Makrolon and GE Plastics' Lexan - made a major impact on plastics. Lexan inventor Daniel Fox was inducted into the Plastics Hall of Fame in 1976.
Schnell also invented aromatic PCs. That ushered in everything from new injection molded PC parts to extruded sheet.
Schnell hired Dieter Freitag at Bayer, and Freitag went on to developed a modified PC used to injection mold CDs, a landmark change for the recording industry. Freitag went into the hall of fame in 2006.
Schnell died in 1999.
He shared the 2000 Nobel Prize with Alan Heeger and Hideki Shirakawa for discovering polymers that could conduct electricity. They found that ``doping,'' or introducing a trace element to some polymers such as polyacetylene, made them exhibit a range of conductivity.
This made possible products such as rechargeable batteries and light-emitting diodes, and major advances in computers such as electromagnetic shielding.
MacDiarmid received SPE's International Award at Antec 2000.
He died Feb. 7, 2007.
John Swallow from England was one of the first to recognize the true significance of R.O. Gibson's 1933 discovery of polyethylene. Gibson's notation of a ``waxy solid found in reaction tube'' struck a chord.
He pushed the development of the polymer, working with Gibson and two other scientists.
According to nomination information, commercial production of PE began in 1939 at the Wallerscote Works in Durham, England.
In 1924, Swallow joined Brunner Mold as a research chemist at its center in Winnington, England. The firm became Imperial Chemical Industries plc two years later.
Swallow was named research director to the ICI Plastics Group in 1942. During World War II, ICI developed its own acrylic sheet and molding material, thermoset resins and other products. He was named ICI Plastics chairman in 1951, and held that top post until he retired in 1963.