The Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) has presented two national awards to the research team of William Starnes, Floyd Dewey Gottwald, Sr., Professor of Chemistry, Emeritus, at William and Mary.
Alexander Zestos B.S. with Honors,’07; M.S.,’08 received the 2009 Best Paper Award of the SPE Vinyl Plastics Division for his oral presentation at a national SPE conference in Chicago. The award was also based on the content of the written paper, which was concerned with the discovery of new, environmentally innocuous fire retardants for vinyl (PVC) products. Co-winners of the award were the coauthors of the paper, which included undergraduates Cole Grinnell and Long Vinh, chemistry professor Robert Pike and Starnes, the research director. Zestos also received a stipend of $1,500 for travel expenses.
Starnes was given the Technical Contributions to Vinyl Award for his lifetime achievements involving “outstanding technical contributions that have advanced vinyl technology”. These were identified as “research into PVC degradation, stabilization, structure and fire retardance,” editorship of the Journal of Vinyl and Additive Technology and “sponsoring student research and presentations.” Starnes is the first member of academia to receive this award, which is presented annually to a single awardee and is the society’s highest honor in the vinyl field. The award included an unrestricted grant of $1,000 to support the research of the Starnes group.