Born in Illinois, Paul Flory received his Ph.D. from Ohio State University. Throughout his career, he has divided his energies between the university and industry. Since beginning his professional career in 1934, he has worked in chemical research at E.I. DuPont, the Standard Oil Company, the Goodyear Tire Company, and the Mellon Institute. In addition, he has served as chair of chemistry at Cornell University and at Stanford University. In the 1930s, Flory was one of the people who began working on the properties of polymers, chemical compounds of high molecular weight consisting of a number of smaller structural units linked together. He contributed many insights into polymerization mechanics, including using statistical methods to determine ways of expressing the distribution of chain lengths of polymer molecules. Flory also developed a theory of nonlinear polymers, which involved cross-linkages between molecular chains. One important innovation of Flory's was the concept of "Flory temperature", a temperature for a given solution at which meaningful measurements can be made of the properties of polymers. For his work in the physical chemistry of the macromolecules [polymers], he was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1974.