Structure of Polytetrafluoroethylene - graphic by Ben Mills, public domain Wikimedia Commons
Or better known to most as Teflon, the brand produced by DuPont Co. Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) was discovered, as many things are in the world of science, serendipitously by American chemist, Roy J. Plunkett (not NASA, as is commonly believed). In recent years, Teflon has received bad publicity for its effects on humans and birds, it still has valuable uses in medicine, industry, and sports. While many of us avoid cooking food on Teflon coated utensils, it has many practical uses such as bug repellent (in the sense that bugs can't hold onto surfaces coated with it). So, we appreciate you, Teflon, but won't invite you to dinner!