Prof. Krzysztof Matyjaszewski is a world-leading polymer chemist based at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, USA. Prof. Matyjaszewski had a promising scientific career from the start, graduating in 1972 with a B.S. and M.S. degree from Gubkin Russian State University of Oil and Gas—whose alumni include several notable mathematicians, as well as Vladimir Sorokin, one of the most popular postmodern writers in contemporary Russian literature—before pursuing a Ph.D. at the Center for Molecular and Macromolecular Studies of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Lodz.
His most celebrated breakthrough came in 1994 when he and his group developed Cu-mediated atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP), propelling him onto the international stage of polymer chemistry. Following this now well-used method for controlling polymerization reactions, Krzysztof continues to work at the forefront of polymer chemistry, hoping, he says, to “develop various hybrid materials by covalently linking ‘smart’ polymers with natural products and inorganics to get the best of two worlds.” Furthermore, what excites him most in his field is “precisely controlled polymers with minimal [challenges to the] environment.”