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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

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Abstract Volume 19 (2014) pp 289-295

Stephanie L. Kwolek, Inventor of Kevlar, Dies at 90

George B. Kauffman*

Department of Chemistry, California State University, Fresno, Fresno, CA 93740-8034, georgek@mail.fresnostate.edu

Published: 26 September 2014

Abstract. Stephanie Louise Kwolek,the DuPont industrial chemist best known for inventing Kevlar, the first of a family of synthetic fibers of exceptional strength and stiffness, died on June 18, 2014 in Talleyville, Delaware at the age of 90 years, following a brief illness. On the day of her death, the one-millionth bullet-proof Kevlar vest, which has saved thousands of lives, had been sold. DuPont CEO Ellen Kullman, called her “a creative and determined chemist and a true pioneer for women in science.” This obituary summarizes Kwolek’s life and work with an emphasis on her invention of Kevlar.

Key Words: Chemistry and History; biography; women in science; industrial chemistry; polymer chemistry; synthetic fibers; bullet-proof vests; Kevlar

(*) Corresponding author. (E-mail: georgek@mail.fresnostate.edu)

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