* 1893 in Arnstadt/Thüringen

† 1968 in Darmstadt


Walter Bauer comes from a family of merchants and craftsmen. After attending a humanistic grammar school, he studied chemistry and physics at the universities of Jena and Munich from 1911 to 1917. In the year of his graduation, he received his doctorate in natural sciences "magna laude" in Jena as a Liebig scholarship holder. In 1918 he began working as a chemist at Röhm & Haas and headed the research laboratory for the basic development of acrylate chemistry. In 1938, Bauer was appointed director.

At the time of his appointment in 1918, research into acrylate chemistry was still in its infancy at Röhm & Haas. Bauer's field of activity included both the synthesis of monomeric starting products, in particular the acrylic acid ester, and the research of their polymerization products. He was also responsible for the development of some important applications and important technical manufacturing processes.

Among the most notable inventions and developments that he led to success as laboratory manager were the synthesis of acrylic acid methyl ester via ethylene cyanohydrin and the development of LUGLAS, a laminated safety glass with an internal acrylate layer, as a glazing material for the automotive industry. Early on, Bauer recognized the importance of methacrylates, the derivatives of acrylates, for the plastics industry and played a significant role in the development of PLEXIGLAS®. The casting technology for PLEXIGLAS® sheets can also be traced back to the work of Bauer and his employees, as can the manufacturing process for PLEXIGLAS® tubes by centrifugal polymerization.

Until 1944, when he left the company, Bauer made a major contribution to the development of acrylate chemistry, which became the dominant business area of Röhm & Haas during the Second World War. In almost 70 domestic and foreign patents, he is named as an inventor or co-inventor. In 1962, the German Inventors' Association awarded the Gold Diesel Medal in recognition of Bauer's achievements in basic research in plastics chemistry.