SAN ANTONIO—While other 16-year-olds were reading books about adventures from afar and learning about the basics of science, Georg Bohm was hitchhiking from his home in Vienna, Austria, to explore Morocco while reading books about nuclear physics.
Such is the life of a decorated scientist—full of curiosity, knowledge and persistence.
Bohm, the 2016 Charles Goodyear Medalist, said he bought his first physics book and began studying the science long before he attended a university. It was around that time that his interest in the old Moroccan culture prompted him to thumb his way to the country, spending a couple of months there.
“I was very committed to physics certainly from the age of 16,” he said.
That commitment certainly served him well during his 50-plus year career as a scientist, including four decades working in various capacities with Firestone/Bridgestone.
While Bohm has a wide range of key accomplishments, including 74 U.S. patents and writing 37 publications, his most notable might be his development of new technologies with lasting impact on the tire industry. Three examples include:
- The study and application of radiation technology for the precuring of tire components;
- Novel tire manufacturing processes including the coextrusion of spliceless, tubular, multi-layer tire components; and
- The development of polymeric nano-particles for tire applications.
“I was interested in so many things,” said Bohm, who received his medal during the Science and Technology Banquet that highlighted the ACS Rubber Division's 189th Technical Meeting, held recently in San Antonio. The prestigious award honors an individual for outstanding invention, innovation or development that resulted in significant change or contribution to the nature of the rubber industry.
“Science just offers such a diversity of knowledge,” he said. “If you're challenged to study how these things work, and can, on the side, also apply some of your findings, it's a good thing.”