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Polymer Chemistry

One-Week Summer Science Program

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Polymer Chemistry is a part of the new emerging field of Materials Science. The instructor holds an advanced degree in the area from one of the top materials chemistry programs in the country and is an award-winning teacher. Many of the top STEM innovators in the future will rely on utilizing breakthrough materials and polymer chemists will be at the forefront of this new, high-paying field. In this program, students will synthesize and explore the properties of polymers ranging from the fun, silly putty to those life-saving applications for medicine.

This one-week summer program is designed for teens interested in materials science & chemistry.

Students do an experiment in the Polymer Chemistry one-week program

Date: June 22nd – 26th
Dana Hall – Wellesley, MA

Material Science Wages

What are polymers? Polymers include: Nylon, Plastics, Acrylics, Bakelite, Silly Putty, Styrofoam, Kids Slime, Sugar Crystals, Wood, and even DNA.

What are polymers used for? Polymers are used in: Packaging, Containers, Insulation, Electric Cable Insulators, Clothing, Furniture, Vinyl Flooring, Adhesives, Laminating Sheets, Jeweler, CDs, and they have some medical uses.

Materials Science is a new exciting field that encompasses polymer chemistry and plastics engineering of materials to synthesize and to create custom or brand new materials with specific products for specific uses. Materials scientists make products, coatings, superconductive materials, fuel cells, and integrated circuit chips. Particularly exciting are medical applications: scientists are designing materials that interface with human tissue for medical device implants and prosthetic limbs, and even adhesives that can be used as glue for eye injuries.

Student holds a polymer slime in the Polymer Chemistry one-week science program

The students learned a ton last year! They studied condensation and addition polymerization, vulcanization, thermosetting, and thermoplasticity. The students made polyurethane, nylon, gluep, Oobleck, and encapsulated metals in sodium alginate. They studied polarized light and how it interacts with polymer materials. The class had a guest speaker from Aramco, who discussed how polymer membranes work and shared his cutting-edge work on water purification. The students also spoke with two professors from Tufts, and one professor from MIT. The class asked good questions and learned about research. They studied big companies that produce polymers, and even went over how composites are formed! The students can explain several ways of forming polymers (even from milk!)

Marilyn bio photo

Marilyn Weiss

Marilyn earned her MS from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the top Materials Chemistry program in the country. While in grad school, Marilyn taught Analytical Chemistry and General Chemistry, and she also won the “Commended Teacher and Laboratory Instructor” award. Since graduating, Marilyn has taught AP Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, and General Chemistry at top-performing high schools. Each year, her students earn a 4.5/5 average on their AP tests and consistently score between 760-800 on the SAT II.

Student Comments

“The program was interesting because I learned about materials in detail I would not learn in school. It exposed me to what working in a scientific field might be like. The teacher helped keep the group on task but wasn’t too strict.”
 
“It was an amazing experience and very fun and influential. I learned a lot and am very glad I did this. The teacher is an amazing intellectual person that was great to learn from.”
 
“I enjoyed the program and the activities we did, like mixing slimes and other polymers.”
“We learned about different types of polymers which are macromolecules made up of chains of monomers and how they are individually created and what individual properties they have. I personally like the experiments that the teacher provides for us, in which we create different polymers through chemical reactions.”
 
“I liked the program because I was a huge fan of chemistry so I had a lot of fun. We did a lot of cool polymer experiments. My teacher was very nice and helped us when we needed help.”

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