Skip to main content

Szwarc, Michael


SZWARC, MICHAEL (1909–2000), U.S. physical chemist. Born in Bedzin, Poland, Szwarc graduated from the Warsaw Polytechnic in 1932 and then studied and taught at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (1935–42) and Manchester University (1947–52). In 1952 he went to the U.S. as professor of physical and polymer chemistry at the College of Forestry of the State University of New York (Syracuse). In 1964 he was awarded a distinguished professorship by the State University of New York and in 1967 he founded and became the first director of the suny Polymer Research Center. He became professor emeritus in 1980. After his retirement in 1979, he joined the Loker Hydrocarbon Research Institute at usc.

Szwarc discovered living polymerization, a reaction that allows the resultant polymers to maintain chain-end reactivity even after completion of the reaction. This advance allows the synthesis of polymers with controlled molecular weights, and with functional groups placed at particular positions in the polymer chain. Szwarc also made fundamental contributions to the development of "block polymers," in which two or more different polymer chains are connected to each other through chemical bonds. This has led to the manufacture of a variety of unique polymeric materials, such as thermoplastic elastomers.

Szwarc was elected a fellow of the Royal Society (London) in 1966 and received two awards in polymer chemistry from the American Chemical Society (1969, 1990) as well as the Kyoto Prize for advanced technology in 1991 in recognition of his fundamental contributions to polymer science. He contributed papers to scientific journals, mostly concerning kinetics and mechanisms of organic reactions and polymerizations.

[Samuel Aaron Miller /

Bracha Rager (2nd ed.)]

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Szwarc, Michael." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . 17 Jan. 2019 <>.

"Szwarc, Michael." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . (January 17, 2019).

"Szwarc, Michael." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . Retrieved January 17, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.