Robert W. Gore invented a new form of
polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) widely known by the GORE-TEX® brand name. This highly porous yet very strong material
is chemically inert, functions within a wide range of temperatures, and is
weatherproof. Valued by outdoor
enthusiasts as durable, wind-resistant, waterproof and breathable, GORE-TEX®
materials have also found applications in hundreds of medical, industrial,
electrical and textile products.
Born in Salt Lake City, Utah, Gore pursued his undergraduate
degree at the University of Delaware. As a college sophomore in 1957, he
discovered a way to use PTFE tape to insulate wires and cables. In a 1969
experiment, Gore rapidly stretched heated rods of PTFE and created expanded
PTFE, which was given the GORE-TEX® brand name.
Gore completed his graduate studies at the University of
Minnesota, earning an M.S. and a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering. He has spent his career at W. L. Gore &
Associates, the company founded by his parents to
develop PTFE-insulated cable based upon his first invention. In his tenure as
president from 1976 to 2000, he guided the company from a wire and cable
manufacturer into a diverse billion-dollar enterprise. He currently serves as
chairman of the company’s board of directors.
Vinton G. Cerf
Robert E. Kahn
Robert W. Gore
Richard M. Hoe
John H. Thomas