CLEVELAND—The ACS Rubber Division has named Nissim Calderon, retired from Goodyear, as its 2020 recipient of the Charles Goodyear Medal, the technical association's highest honor.
The announcement was made during the first day of the division's International Elastomer Conference, held Oct. 8-10 in Cleveland. Calderon will be honored during the Rubber Division's Spring Technical Meeting, to be held April 28-30 in Independence, Ohio.
Calderon was recognized for his work related to the science of olefin metathesis. He was the first "to demonstrate the cornerstone of a fundamental reaction of olefins, namely, the ability to undergo cleavage and re-formation of double bonds in the presence of suitable catalysts," according to his nomination letter. The letter said that the original publication provided critical experimentation and "launched one of the most intriguing phenomenon in chemistry." It was in that paper that Calderon coined the term "olefin metathesis," which still is used today.
While at Goodyear, Calderon applied the chemistry to cycloolefins to help develop new elastomers, copolymers, terpolymers, alternating copolymers and oligomers as precursers to fine chemicals, according to the nomination.
In 1994, he was granted the Carl Dietrich Harris Medal by the DKG German Rubber Society in recognition of this work.
Calderon received a master's in chemistry from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, followed by a doctorate in polymer science from the University of Akron in 1962. He also earned a doctorate in technical science from the Technical University in Graz, Austria, in recognition of his work on olefin metathesis.
He joined Goodyear as a senior research chemist in 1962 and was promoted to section head of the newly formed Elastomers Division in 1967. In 1975 he was named manager of the New Polymerization Processes, and two years lated moved to manager of General Purpose Rubbers.
Calderon became manager of Tire Materials Research in 1983, before being named vice president of corporate research in 1986. In the post, which he held until retiring in 1998, he oversaw more than 400 scientists, engineers and technicians who preformed a wide variety of research programs.
As vice president of corporate research, he led Goodyear's involvement in joint research and development programs with academia and U.S. government labs. This included four programs with Sandia National Laboratories that looked into the development of modeling tools for predicting composite performance.
Calderon holds more than 17 patents. His olefin metathesis reaction has been named in more than 300 patented applications in the rubber, petroleum and fine chemicals industries, and been the subject of an estimated more than 5,000 publications and patents.