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Junji Furukawa

by Susan J. Ainsworth
December 14, 2009 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 87, Issue 50


Junji Furukawa, 96, professor emeritus at Kyoto University and a polymer chemistry leader, died in Kawasaki, Japan, on March 18.

Born in Osaka, Furukawa completed a degree in applied chemistry from Kyoto Imperial University in 1937. After graduation, he remained at the university (which later became part of Kyoto University), conducting research on synthetic rubber under Gen-itsu Kita. He earned a doctor of engineering degree there in 1943.

Furukawa was appointed associate professor at Kyoto University’s Institute for Chemical Research in 1940, was named a full professor in 1948, and retired from the institute in 1976. He then joined both Aichi Institute of Technology and Tokyo University of Science, remaining at each until 1986.

In his research, Furukawa focused on elastomers and rubber, studying areas including polymerization mechanisms and the theory of rheology. He published hundreds of scientific articles and 26 books, and he served on numerous editorial boards.

Furukawa was active in international societies. In Japan, he was a member of the Science Council of Japan and served as president of the Japanese Chemical Society, the Society of Polymer Science, and the Society of Rubber Industry.

Furukawa received the ACS Award in Polymer Chemistry in 1978. Until 1999, he was a member of ACS for 40 years.

Furukawa is survived by his wife, Nobu; three daughters, Miyo Kobayashi, Yumi Saito, and Chie Chiya; and seven grandchildren.

Susan J. Ainsworth writes obituaries. Obituary notices may be sent to and should include a detailed educational and professional history.


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