John J.

Grebe

Inducted 1990

John Joseph Grebe (given name Hans Josef Grebe) an American physicist, came to the Ohio, at the age of 14, where he acquired U.S. citizenship after seven years of residency. John made important contributions to the plastics industry, including the development of polystyrene, Styrofoam®, and Saran® plastics while working at Dow Chemical.

Grebe personally held 64 patents at Dow Chemical Company in electro-chemistry, power generation, synthesis of organic compounds, and air conditioning. Grebe joined Dow in 1921 — immediately after receiving his B.S. degree in physics from the Case School of Applied Science — and remained with the company for 41 years. In addition to his work as the founder and director of the Dow Physical Research Laboratory in Midland, Michigan, he was also a founder of Creation Research Society. He was a pioneer scientist in the field of nuclear and physical chemistry research. He also made major contributions in the simplification of plastics processing and automatic control equipment. Grebe earned a D.Sc. degree and M.S. degree from Case Institute of Technology in 1935 (now Case Western Reserve University). He became the youngest recipient ever to receive the Chemical Industry Medal. He also served as Chief Scientist to the U.S. Army Chemical Corps at Edgewood Arsenal New Baltimore from 1948 to 1949.

He was also honored with the J.W. Hyatt Award in 1946 for his work on the polymerization and production of pure styrene. Grebe also designed atomic reactors for submarines for the federal government.

Areas of Expertise:

Plastic processing, Plastic materials

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