Please to share your thoughts, stories, photos others might find interesting. And we will share it on this page.
Thank you.

Dear friends and cohengroup family,

IMG_6701I am really looking forward to our reunion symposium in May. It is very gratifying to learn about the expected turnout, and I am eager to get into the process of catching up with all of your personal and professional news. Very pleasing to me is the fact that so many of you are coming for the purpose of reconnecting with each other, from your particular era in the lab. And you will have a chance to meet people from those windows of time that existed in the third floor lab before and after your tenure here.

To lubricate the wheels of this networking process, it seems like a good idea to share some information in advance of the May event….photos, comments, questions…..for distribution to others members of the group. Rebecca Hailu has added a note to the wonderful home page that she has created for our symposium event, with an email address that you can use for this purpose. I am sure that the symposium will pass by far too quickly for me, and I hope that your postings will help me to be well prepared to enjoy every minute of our time together in May.

To show you that some things do remain the same over time, I am posting a photo from the cohengroup meeting of 20 January 2016. As you can see, Warren K Lewis still sits in judgment of our work.

I am looking forward to hearing your news and to seeing you in May.

Best wishes to all,


(Submitted by Daeyeon Lee – 5/19/16)

2016-05-14 20.24.52 2016-05-14 20.27.19 2016-05-14 20.28.08 2016-05-14 20.29.48 2016-05-14 20.33.14


(Submitted by Stephen Spiegelberg – 5/18/16)

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(Submitted by Gareth H. McKinley – 5/17/16)

Bob with the founders of CPG (Cambridge Polymer Group) at Bob's Symposium (May 14)

Bob with the founders of CPG (Cambridge Polymer Group)
at Bob’s Symposium (May 14)

(Submitted by Tegwen Malik – 5/17/16)

Dear Bob

i just wanted to take this opportunity to THANK YOU for the contribution and interesting discussions you have brought to the table since i first met you! I would have loved to attend the family reunion but from the pictures I can see that the whole event was a resounding success! I thought I would share two memories that are captured in pictures of working with you. The first is with Tim … the cactus in the picture named by you and spells MIT backwards, on the roof of at ESPCI in Paris. The second being on the steps of the Natural History Museum in London with Professor Andrew Parker (from Oxford University), Professor Daniel Beysens (ESPCI, Paris) and Professor Julia Yeomanns (Oxford University) following our water harvesting symposium. There are many more memories of working with you but one other highlight for me was the fact that, having our birthdays on the same day, we actually had a birthday meal together to celebrate this fact…

Anyway, I hope you thoroughly enjoyed the wonderful celebrations at MIT….you really deserve it and I look forward to working with you again in the future

Kind Regards












(Submitted by Arthur Lee – 5/17/16)

Mike, Arthur, Osman G, Chris Schwier

Mike, Arthur, Osman G, Chris Schwier

Arthur with Frank Bates

Arthur with Frank Bates

Bob Cohen - 2016

Bob Cohen – 2016


(Submitted by Stephen Severson – 5/12/16)

Dear Bob,

Thank you SO MUCH for the wonderful opportunity to work with you, to study polymers, do research in your lab and serve as a teaching assistant for you 1974-76! I have so many fond memories of our time together — moving to Building 66 and getting new rheometry equipment, co-authoring articles, dinner at your house, your sending me to Montreal to present a paper we wrote, AND your attending our outdoor wedding in Hanover June 20, 1976!

It was HUGE for me to have you in my life then because you were always so positive and encouraging, thoughtful and energetic! When one of the Dartmouth students on a soccer team I coach interviewed me for a journalism assignment, she asked about influential mentors — I included you as one of the people I most admired. I always appreciated so much the tone you set in your lab — collegial, cooperative, collaborative, progressive, thorough — it was an incredible experience!

You are certainly the biggest reason that I have such fond memories of the Institute and have supported it every year in the alumni fund! Most recently the women’s soccer team I coach here at Dartmouth played MIT there on campus, and it certainly brought back a huge rush of great memories — I can’t thank you enough for playing such a huge role in that!

Martha and I send our warmest wishes and would LOVE to see you sometime! I agreed to do a “Relay of Life” with my soccer team here for the American Cancer Society this weekend, so I regret not coming down for your wonderful celebration!

much love,

(Submitted by Peter Kofinas – 5/12/16)

Bob and Peter Kofinas World Series Oct 2007 at Fenway Park

Bob and Peter Kofinas World Series Oct 2007 at Fenway Park

(Submitted by Marisa Beppu – 5/10/16)

It is always interesting to notice the influence that a professional like Professor Cohen has worldwide and probably he doesn’t even know.

After my postdoctoral internship at Rubner/Cohen supervision in 2006, my group in Brazil has immersed in topics that were not explored before at the University of Campinas. The laboratory infrastructure changed accordingly and so did the mindset of students that urge to interact with his MIT group. Interestingly, Prof. Cohen never visited Unicamp, but his and Rubner´s influence is noticeable here, miles away from Cambridge…

The created driving force is so strong in our collaborative work that the first picture of this comment page presents two students from my former group in Brazil (Roberta and Thiago), and I am very proud of it.

Prof. Cohen has remarkable characteristics of an inspiring leader: a kindness, generosity and simplicity in everything he does. And as the quote says: simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.
I have been learning in every contact, chat, meeting and email exchanged with “Bob” and “Michael”… and I am very grateful for that.

I just have to say “thank you” for everything… and I am looking forward to meeting everyone again next Saturday!!!

Marisa Beppu, Dean
School of Chemical Engineering
University of Campinas


Rubner, Cynthia, Roberta, Cohen and Thiago


Group meeting


Beppu´s Lab picture

(Submitted by Moira Nir – 5/6/16)

My warmest greetings to everyone who will be attending the BIG REC symposium/reunion! Congratulations in advance to the organizers, as I am sure the event will be a big success. Very, very unfortunately I will not able to attend, but I certainly want to add my best wishes to the chorus of well-wishers.

In honor of this wonderful occasion, I bring a few memories of a young chemical engineer at the beginning of her professional path in the “Cohen Group” in the late 1980’s / early 90’s:

When I applied to MIT for grad school, my knowledge of polymers was pretty slim. I had envisioned working on a different topic altogether, such as artificial organs or other bio-related projects. But THEN I took Bob’s Polymer Engineering course (10.641) and things changed. Maybe it was the orderly way that polymer chains folded in lamella, maybe it was Flory-Huggins, maybe it was the reduction in entropy when stretching rubber bands. Or maybe it was just that Bob clearly loved the subject matter and his enthusiasm was infectious. Whatever the case may be, I decided to request a place in his lab to do my thesis work, and my career in polymers and plastics got its start then and there.

I also realized that picking a thesis advisor is a lot like finding a good “shidduch.” (For those of you whose Yiddish is rusty, look up the “Matchmaker” song from Fiddler on the Roof). It was a given that the professors in the department were all smart and creative, but if I was going to work with someone for 5 (plus-minus) years, it was imperative for me that my advisor also be a pleasant, positive person who would make time to help me out when needed. Sure enough, Bob was a true mentor who was always there for his students and expressed real excitement for the projects and our progress. Many times, I would walk into Bob’s office with my data wondering if there was anything worthwhile in it because it had weird outliers or didn’t seem particularly interesting.   But then Bob would get this happy gleam in his eye and exclaim, “Look! You have a synergistic blend composition here at 10% diblock content. These data reflect what we saw in so-and-so’s thesis with the corresponding amorphous blend!” I had walked in with a quizzical confused look on my face but walked out with an optimistic smile.

If we’re already talking about Bob, I also have to add that his humble manner has always impressed me, as he is always quick to give credit to his students and colleagues.   And then there is also his genuine warmth and caring for our personal endeavors, such as engagements, marriages, births, etc. In return, we in the lab were equally happy to be part of the Cohen family: The day that Eliot was born, I recall a slew of lab members nervously pacing Bob’s office waiting for an update on the big event and how Jane was doing.

To conclude, after all these years, I still want to thank Bob for contributing that rubber band entropy question on the written quals the semester I had to take them. But mostly, I want to thank him for his nurturing support during my years in his lab and express my appreciation for paving the way for my career over the ensuing 25 years. It has been a privilege.

Pic02 Pic03 Pic04
7/1991, Moira Nir’s thesis defense, with
(left to right) Bob, Moira, Peter Kofinas,
Rich Shandross, Steve Speigelberg
This is what a newly minted
PhD looks like.
7/1991, with Bob, Kostas Douzinas,
Warren Lewis(!), Vishak Sankaran,
(two non-ChemE relatives), and
Zbig (Bartzcak?).
pics45 pics47 pic83
2/1991, celebrating Luigi Cazzaniga’s
successful defense, with (left to right):
Moira Nir, Vishak Sankaran, Luigi
2/1991, as above, with Dave Rein,
Anuj Bellare (unfortunately not
visible behind Dave), Steve Speigelberg,
Peter Kofinas, Vishak Sankaran
8/1992,  Avital Nir getting into research
at an early age.  (OSHA would have a
hey-day with this one:  No closed shoes
or safety glasses…)

(Submitted by Emeritus professor, Ed Merrill – 2/25/16)

EdMerrill_PhotoProfessor Robert E. Cohen, Diplomat, Statesman,

I salute you and thank you for bringing into existence PPST, the MIT program in Polymer Science and Technology and for serving as its director.

As a diplomat, you persuaded faculty members from different departments to come together and create a program of instruction and research topics in polymers attracting students across departmental boundaries.

As a statesman, you created a confederation to benefit MIT in a manner beyond departmental boundaries. The PPST has been, and continues to be, an unqualified success. I write with the perspective of one first seeing polymers at MIT as a graduate student in 1944.

With my admiration and congratulations on the occasion of this splendid symposium, and with best wishes,
Ed Merrill
Emeritus professor of Chemical Engineering, MIT


(Submitted by Daeyeon Lee – 2/25/16)

[wppg_photo_gallery id=”1″]

(Submitted by Richard A. Register – 2/1/16)
Also see:
Schedule – First Annual MIT/Princeton Polymer Microsymposium – June 23 -24, 1992
ACS Symposium celebrating Bob’s receipt of the Flory Polymer Education Award – 1984

2012 1993 2014 musymp-2015-photo

(Submitted by Grinia Bradwell – 1/26/16)

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