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Polymer Chemistry

One-Week Summer Science Program 2024

BioSTEM Award, 2018, J&J • Top Summer Science Program, 2011-Present, NY Times/ • Top Robotics Program, 2017, RoboLoco • Best Medicine Program, 2018, ParentMap • Top Biomedical Engineering, • Top 101 Summer Camps & Programs, • #1 Marine Bio, 2022, ThomasNet, Xometry • Top Summer Programs, 2023,  •  Best Computer Science, 2023,

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

This one-week summer program is designed for teens interested in Materials Science & Chemistry.

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June 24 – 28, 2024 | Gann/Bentley, Waltham, MA

More About: Awards – Research Programs – Sample Week 

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 and exciting field that encompasses polymer chemistry and plastics engineering of materials to synthesize and 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 where 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!)

Instructor: Erik Schiferle

Erik Schiferle is a Ph.D. candidate in Materials Science and Engineering at Boston University. He has a strong interest in nano-bio interfaces, in particular, developing prodrugs that mediate cell-receptor specific targeting for treatment of HIV. He was a research technician at Mass General where he assisted in cancer immunology studies.

Student Comments - Summer 2023

“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.”

Looking for more? Try our three-week Chemistry Research program!

Rising middle school? Check out Chemistry of Cooking!

Our Programs are Featured on the National Association for Gifted Children Website

Note: this page represents our best expectations for the program we will deliver, but is subject to change. We will update this page as new information becomes available.

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