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Suryya K. Das

by Susan J. Ainsworth
March 5, 2012 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 90, Issue 10

Suryya K. Das, 82, a retired PPG Industries polymer chemist of Fox Chapel, Pa., died on Jan. 14, 2011.

Born in Calcutta, Das earned a B.S. in chemistry in 1948 and an M.S. in physical chemistry in 1950, both from Presidency College in Calcutta. He then earned a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the University of Calcutta in 1956. He served as a postdoc first with Edward A. Guggenheim at the University of Reading, in England, until 1958, and then with Michael M. Szwarc at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science & Forestry in Syracuse until 1960.

Das then returned to India to work for Allied Resins & Chemicals. He joined PPG in Allison Park, Pa., in 1963, rising through the ranks as a research scientist within the company’s Coatings & Resins Research Center. A pioneer in the development of surfactant-free aqueous dispersion technology, Das conducted research that has been applied to products ranging from hair spray to pressure-sensitive adhesives. He was instrumental in the development of nonaqueous polymer dispersion technology that is still used today in automotive top coats.

Credited with more than 100 patents, he received PPG’s President’s Award and was inducted into the PPG Collegium, which recognizes employees for contributions to new product introductions. Das retired in 2001. He was an emeritus member of ACS, joining in 1965, and an active member of the Bengali Association of Pittsburgh.

He is survived by his wife of 49 years, Mira; daughter, Mitalee; son, Sumit; and two grandchildren.


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