L. James Lee, a professor and distinguished scholar at Ohio State University who is an expert on polymer and composite engineering, has won the International Award, the highest honor of the Society of Plastics Engineers.
SPE honored Lee, plus three other lifetime achievement award winners, during the SPE Celebrates Banquet May 16, to kick off the Antec 2010 conference in Orlando.
SPE also announced the President's Cup, given to Rich Bradley, a longtime activist in SPE's Palisades-New Jersey section.
Lee has built strong programs at OSU to develop thermoset polymers and composite manufacturing processes. SPE said his research in reactive processing, low-profile additives, sheet molding compounds and liquid composite molding is the most comprehensive in the U.S. for automotive and infrastructure applications.
Lee thanked his fellow SPE members: It's great to be honored, and to be on the same list as so many great polymer engineers who have won the award before. He also thanked his graduate students: Really, they are the ones who are working in the lab, allowing me to stand up here and received this award.
Lee is the Helen C. Kurtz Professor and Distinguished Scholar at OSU.
In 1997, Lee established the National Science Foundation's Center for Advanced Polymer and Composite Engineering. In 2004, he led 35 OSU faculty and colleagues from other universities to create the NSF Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center at OSU, which SPE called the largest polymer nano-manufacturing research program in the United States.
Newtown, Conn.-based SPE named two other winners:
Murali Rajagopalan, director of materials research and Titleist golf-ball research and development at Acushnet Co., won the Research/Engineering Technology Award. He studied polymer science at McGill University, then joined BFGoodrich Co. as an R&D scientist for vinyl, where he invented and commercialized heat-resistant PVC for medical devices.
Rajagopalan moved to Acushnet in 1993, where he has become a prolific inventor of golf ball technology, including the use of ionomers, reactive blends and castable polyurethane. He has more than 170 U.S. patents and 50 patent applications pending most involving golf ball materials and design.
Sadhan Jana, chair of the Department of Polymer Engineering at the University of Akron, won the SPE Education Award. Jana received a doctorate in chemical engineering from Northwest University and worked at General Electric Co.'s Corporate Research Center for four years, then joined the University of Akron in 1998.
Jana has raised $2 million in research funding during the past 11 years, more than 80 percent of it from federal sources such as the NSF, NASA and the U.S. Army Research Center.
His current research focuses on shape memory of polymer nanocomposites, polymer nanocomposites produced by self-assembly and polymeric bipolar plates for fuel cells.
Jana led the development of a 10-year strategic plan to address national needs in health, the environment, alternative energy and materials for expanded use of sustainable resources.
SPE's outgoing president, Paul Andersen, presented the President's Cup to Bradley. The winner's name is kept secret until the awards banquet.
Bradley, who joined SPE in 1973, has always been involved with the Palisades-New Jerseysection. He has held many positions, including section president in 1993 and chairman of the Vinyl Plastics Division in 1997.
He is senior account manager at PVC resin sales firm Shawnee Chemical Co. in Princeton, N.J.
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