University of Akron/Professor Joseph P. Kennedy Expose, Part 20

While working on a document several months ago I recalled “Kennedy” stating, during a seminar at U. Akron, that carbon dioxide could be used as a solvent for cationic polymerization.  Use of solid carbon dioxide as an internal refrigerant in cationic polymerization dates well into the earlier 1900s;1 however, application of supercritical CO2 is relatively new.*  During a literature search I stumbled across a familiar pattern, “Kennedy” published work on cationic polymerization in supercritical CO2 at the same time that another researcher, Professor Joseph DeSimone (UNC) did as well!2,3  I dug a little deeper and found out that DeSimone had indeed published his results several months earlier (April of 1994) than “Kennedy” (May of 1994)** but “Kennedy” somehow had filed patent applications before DeSimone did.4  When I contacted DeSimone to determine if he was the true inventor he not only indicated that he was but that “Kennedy” had stolen the idea from a lecture delivered by DeSimone at U. Akron which was followed up with a personal meeting with “Kennedy” that same day!!!  It would appear DeSimone informed “Kennedy” that he was conducting cationic polymerization in supercritical CO2 during this personal meeting.  Please refer to the following email exchange with DeSimone here Re_ cationic pzn in supercritical CO2 . 

I asked DeSimone if he would pursue this but he declined to do so.  As I told him, this gutless behavior is the root cause of the rampant intellectual dishonesty plaguing the field of science today but he still shrugged off his responsibility.  Apparently his defeat by “Kennedy” was too much of an ordeal for him to confront. 

Possibly one of the most disgusting aspects of “Kennedy’s” stealing of DeSimone’s invention is the fact that he makes the following statement in reference #3.  “Our exhaustive manual and computer-aided literature and patent search, including data-bases such as RAPRA, STN International, and CAS, failed to identify a single reference concerning C+Pzn in SC·CO2 that is at temperatures higher than Tc = 31.1 °C, the critical temperature of CO2.”  Another salient point to the reader is although I entered the “Kennedy” lab only four years following publication of “Kennedy’s” work in supercritical CO2 there was little evidence that he ever possessed the proper equipment to conduct the experimental work.  A very antiquated and poorly maintained Parr reactor (ca. 200 mL capacity) was present in the laboratory but its state of disrepair and appearance make the author of this blog question as to whether actual polymerizations were ever conducted in the “Kennedy” lab in supercritical CO2.

As we progress in chronicling inventions “Kennedy” has stolen from other scientists we will eventually come to a very interesting case involving a scientist whose name is well-known to those in the polymer field.  The reader won’t need to take my word for this but instead “Kennedy” himself acknowledges that he took this invention from this particular scientist…

* This is currently the most detailed current review*** of initiator systems for cationic polymerization although other materials are forthcoming.  It also contains the first public disclosure of “Kennedy’s” attempt to falsify research data.  Please note, I’m only referencing the first couple references in context to cationic polymerization in supercritical CO2 as disclosed by DeSimone and Kennedy.

** It should be pointed out that many of “Kennedy’s” coinciding publications of either stolen or copycatted work (i.e., almost identical) were routinely published in the periodical “Polymer Bulletin” which “Kennedy” served as founding editor.  Obviously, there is no conflict of interest there.  IT IS QUITE INTERESTING TO NOTE THE “KENNEDY” EVEN COPIES DESIMONE’S USE OF THE TERMINOLOGY “TUNED” AND THAT THIS WORD IS USED IN ALMOST IDENTICAL POSITIONS (IN REGARDS TO THE STANDARD OUTLINE OF JOURNAL ARTICLES) OF PAPERS AUTHORED BY THESE TWO RESEARCHERS {SEE REFERENCE 2 (BOTTOM OF THIRD PARAGRAPH, INTRODUCTION) AND REFERENCE 3 (BOTTOM THIRD PARAGRAPH, INTRODUCTION)}!!!

*** The review by Gandini and Cheradame5 is the most exhaustive but somewhat dated.


(1) Lewis, S. P.; Mathers, R. T. Advances in Acid Mediated Polymerizations.; In Renewable Polymers, Synthesis, Technology and Processing; Vikas, M., Ed.; Wiley-VCH: New York, 2011;  pp 69-173.

(2) Clark, M. R.; DeSimone, J. M. Cationic Polymerizations in Supercritical Carbon Dioxide Polym. Prepr., Am. Chem. Soc. Div. Polym. Chem. 1994, 35,482-483.

(3) Pernecker, T.; Kennedy, J. P. Carbocationic polymerizations in supercritical carbon dioxide I. Exploratory experiments with isobutylene Polym. Bull. 1994, 32,537-543.

(4) Kennedy, J. P.; Pernecker, T. Carbocationic polymerizations in supercritical CO2 U.S. Patent 5,376,744, 1994.

(5) Gandini, A.; Cheradame, H. Cationic Polymerisation: Initiation Processes with Alkenyl Monomers. Adv. Polym. Sci. 1980, 34-35,1-284.