WMU Home > WMU News

WMU News

WMU News on Twitter

Plastic compound inventor is topic of talk

Nov. 30, 2009

KALAMAZOO--The ramifications and developments in science and modern life after the invention of Bakelite, a versatile early plastic compound, is the topic of a free public lecture from 5 to 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 7, in Room 1720 of the Chemistry Building at Western Michigan University.

Joris Mercelis from the University of Ghent, Belgium, will speak on Leo Baekeland, the inventor of the compound that found wide use in the automotive and radio industries and was used in manufacturing clocks and jewelry in the first half of the 20th century.

"Leo H. Baekeland and the Struggle for the Control of Bakelite: The Impact of Intellectual Property Regimes" will examine Baekeland's role in many developments in chemistry and everyday applications. The talk also will look at how his inventions led to struggles over ownership of these new compounds and the products they made possible.

Mercelis is in the Department of Modern and Contemporary History at the University of Ghent. He is now serving as a fellow at the Smithsonian Institute and will be the Herbert D. Doan Fellow at the Chemical Heritage Society in spring 2010.

WMU's Graduate College and departments of Chemistry and Economics are sponsoring the event.

For more information, call (269) 387-8212.

Share |

Media contact: Deanne Puca, (269) 387-8400, deanne.puca@wmich.edu

WMU News
Office of University Relations
Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA
(269) 387-8400