William W. Graessley | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 95 Issue 26 | p. 38 | Obituaries
Issue Date: June 26, 2017

William W. Graessley

Department: ACS News
Keywords: ACS news, obituaries

William W. Graessley, 83, died on Feb. 18 in Evanston, Ill.

“Bill pioneered both the molecular rheology of polymer melts and solutions, and the thermodynamics of weakly interacting polymer blends. Having held two positions in industry (Airco, Exxon) and two in academia (Northwestern, Princeton), Bill brought a broad perspective to his research and teaching, always selecting important fundamental problems with strong technological relevance. He advised 31 Ph.D. students, helped build the Princeton Materials Institute and the Princeton Center for Complex Materials, and in retirement, authored two interconnected books on polymeric liquids and networks in which he presented a unified and comprehensive view of the field to which he had contributed so deeply.”—Richard A. Register, colleague and mentee

Most recent title: emeritus professor of chemical engineering, Princeton University

Education: B.S., chemistry, and B.S.E., chemical engineering, 1956, and Ph.D., chemical engineering, 1960, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Survivors: wife, Helen; daughters, Kathryn Severin and Laurie Frey; son, William Jr.; eight grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren

 

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Comments
Emil M Friedman (Fri Jul 14 14:34:09 EDT 2017)
He was also a very open-minded scientist.

Many years ago I wrote a paper using the results of published blending data to compare different proposed equations related to how melt viscosity of polymers depended on molecular weight distribution. In that paper I showed that the data were definitely not consistent with an equation that Prof Graessley had proposed. My professor submitted it to the Transactions of the Society of Rheology. I was naïve and did not realize that Prof Graessley was the editor.

One of the reviews recommended rejection. The other recommended that it could perhaps be published after major revisions. One of them opined that I had not properly explained how Graessley's equation led to the blending rule that I derived from it.

Professor Graessley overruled both of them and published it with only very minor revisions. (One of the revisions was a correction of my misspelling of his name.) He even wrote a note in the margin that the derivation of my blending rule from his equation was clear to him and could be left as is.

The entire thing has stayed in my memory ever since, especially because my professor was upset at me for spending time on a project that he thought had little chance of success and later told me how "our" paper conclusively settled the earlier controversy.

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