The birthplace of NBA star Lebron James also is home to the world's top polymer science and plastics engineering program.
Yes, we're talking about Akron, Ohio, home of the University of Akron, which recently won that plastics and polymers designation from global ranking site EduRank.
(Fun Fact: Plastics News was founded in Akron and was based there for many years. Restaurants, bartenders and retailers in the area still miss the PN crew. Our sister publications Rubber News and Tire Business are still based near Akron.)
In a news release, UA officials said that the school has been a world leader in polymers since the founding of the United Synthetic Rubber Program in 1939. UA's School of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering offers master's and doctoral programs.
(Fun Fact 2: My nephew Roman Amorati earned his Master's degree from the UA program in 2020. Well done!)
UA officials added that the program's faculty represents one of the largest concentrations of polymer expertise in the U.S., having invented more than 300 issued and pending patents, including some that have been commercialized worldwide. The polymer program "is home to many important discoveries in modern polymer syntheses, characterizations, theories and applications," they said.
"The school offers polymer research centers, testing facilities, workshops and laboratories equipped with advanced instrumentation and process capabilities right on the (UA) campus," said Craig Menzemer, interim dean, College of Engineering and Polymer Science.
"Our faculty leaders prepare student researchers and post-docs to make a significant impact on the success of the region and the world," he added.
EduRank's overall ranking methodology factors in research performance, non-academic prominence — including backlinks to a university from other sites — and an alumni score. In UA's evaluations, more than 31,000 research publications were considered, including more than 14,000 in engineering and more than 9,000 in material sciences. Research publications from the university overall have been cited more than 760,000 times.