University of Akron/Professor Joseph P. Kennedy Expose, Part 15

Before I pick up where I last left off I need to digress yet again.  If the reader looks (in part 14 of this blog series) at the initial notebook page (notebook 2, page 139) that describes my invention, the first aqueous polymerization system for IB, they will notice in the left hand margin a somewhat cryptic note.  This note reads “yet they will try to take credit” and I wrote this immediately after my advisor Scott had signed my notebook (notebook 2, page 141 {see below}) one day later, his signature thereby officially noting my invention (just not on the actual date that I conceived the invention!).  All of the other writing contained on these pages are original and were present prior to Scott’s signature which leads to an important point (and he did read them prior to signing).  That point is, Scott refused to sign the initial pages detailing my invention as they clearly demonstrate that I was indeed the sole inventor for this polymerization system.  This fact is further reinforced by documents/information that I provide in my next posting (including a full admission by one of the people listed as a co-inventor!).

Notebook 2 pp 139-141

Another side digression that I wish to make at this time concerns another method “Kennedy” used to extract ideas from students (besides the cabinetry behind his computer desk where he retained all hard copies of documents submitted to him by students).  Dr. “Kennedy” made it a habit to ask questions on examinations that required the student to devise new methods manufacture for existing materials or to submit details concerning new compositions of matter that would address a need described in the problem he set forth.  Good examples of these can be found on test questions written by “Kennedy” that appeared on comprehensive exams.  The polymer science department at U. Akron kept copies of all of these examinations on hand and thus it should be relatively easy for interested readers to verify this fact (look in the late 90s to early 2000s for the following example).  Unfortunately I did not retain these but I do recall one question in particular relating to amphiphilic materials wherein “Kennedy” required the student to draw the structure of such a material and then detail its synthesis.*  As it turns out, “Kennedy” was heavily involved in the development of such materials for use in biomedical applications (e.g. artificial pancreas).  My memory is quite vivid due to the fact that my answer was nothing more than a copy of chemistry that my cohort in the “Kennedy” group was working on (and I received full credit for the question).  This was in fact the same student who had his idea (for a high temperature stable silicone polymer) stolen by “Kennedy” as I described earlier in part 14 of this blog series.

As I stated earlier, with the exception of Dr. Jack Pi, no one in “Kennedy’s” group and most especially “Kennedy” possessed much in the way of knowledge when it came to silicon chemistry.  It just so happens that this particular triblock copolymer which formed the basis for the my answer to “Kennedy’s” cumulative exam question (polyethylene oxide-polyisobutene-polyethylene oxide) was made by one of the few transformations involving silicon that was well-known in the “Kennedy” lab; that is, hydrosilation.  Although I do recall this student conducting other methods to make these materials he was involved in making networks derived from these two polymers, and one method involved hydrosilation of pentamethylcyclopentasiloxane (D5H) to polyethylene oxide and polyisobutene polymers that possessed terminal unsaturations (e.g. telechelic polymers with α,ω allyl groups).  These polymers were chosen due to their biocompatibility, the fact that polyisobutene has a low glass transition temperature, and because polyethylene oxide is oxygen permeable.  All of these characteristics were deemed necessary to make an artificial pancreas.  Regardless, this student’s use of D5H in conjunction with Karstedt’s catalyst in the presence of water led to his invention (accidentally) of a highly crosslinked silicone polymer that had high thermal stability (and which “Kennedy” ultimately stole credit for).  As we will see, stealing credit for other people’s invention is a recurrent theme in “Kennedy’s” life…

* Hopefully this wasn’t in his cationic polymerization class, which appeared to have one exam.  I glanced at this and did not see the problem I’m referring to (above) listed on that particular exam.