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Sticky business

Since its invention in 1942, it has played vital roles in venues from the battlefield and operating room to manufacturing plants and dental offices.

Today, you’re most likely to find it in ordinary households – used to fix toys, appliances and craft projects.

harry-coover-2-sizedBut when Harry Coover M.S. ’42, Ph.D. ’44 first stumbled upon it in the lab, his initial reaction was annoyance.

The substance is Superglue – the aptly named, super-sticky goop that can glue your fingers together if you’re not careful.

This year, Coover is one of three individuals who have won the Technology and Innovation Medal.

Coover was working for the Eastman Chemical Company to develop a clear plastic that could be used for precision gunsights when he concocted the chemical . . . and rejected it as too sticky and difficult to work with.

Six years later he later revived it for use as an adhesive, and it became Patent number 2,768,109: Alcohol-Catalyzed Cyanoacrylate Adhesive Compositions/Superglue. And the rest is history.

President Obama will bestow the award in a ceremony later this year.

– Lauren Gold

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