'Dr. Joe' Schwarcz Waxes Poetic About the Wonders of Polyurethane. Which Isn't So Easy.

By Josh Bloom — Feb 27, 2021
Dr. Joe Schwarcz, the director of McGill University's Office for Science and Society, (somehow) churns out one video per week in his "The Right Chemistry" series. "Dr. Joe" manages to make all of them fascinating. This one is about polyurethane, a substance that should NOT be used in place of hair spray.

Who knew that polyurethane could be so interesting? "Dr. Joe' Schwarcz, the director of the McGill Office for Science and Society, who can make pretty much anything interesting, does so again. And this time we get an added bonus – an eloquent soliloquy about whether the figures in a polyurethane-coated sculpture are gazing into the sky for knowledge (he says) or have simply been waiting too long for a bus and are cranky.

Let's leave that for the philosophy majors (definition: someone who is unemployed). When Joe gets down to science we learn about the history of polyurethane (the first synthetic shoes - they bombed) and some of the many uses, including Spandex, tires, and condoms (who knew?).

We also learn that Joe is no spring (or rubber) chicken, as he admits attending the 1964 World's Fair in New York.

And something extra special! A lesson about something that should be obvious – don't use Gorilla Glue as a substitute for hairspray (definition: Duh) and what had to be done to remove it. 

Enjoy. I sure did.





Josh Bloom

Director of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Science

Dr. Josh Bloom, the Director of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Science, comes from the world of drug discovery, where he did research for more than 20 years. He holds a Ph.D. in chemistry.

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