Chemist who accidentally discovered of one of the most popular materials ever used: Teflon, in 1938. For his revolutionary work he was inducted into both the Plastics Hall of Fame and the National Inventors Hall of Fame.
An early interested in chemistry led him to a Ph.D. from Ohio State University, after which he joined DuPont to work in newer versions off their Freon refrigerant.
Working with the refrigerant gas tetrafluoroethylene (TFE), he and his colleague discovered one canister where the gas solidified, and its chemical properties made it useful for a range of applications.
He grew up in New Carlisle, Ohio.
His polymer found its most famous use in coating cookware surfaces to make them non-sticky, and its name became used in describing the ability of the mobster John Gotti to avoid any charges sticking to him.