The SCI Perkin Medal is recognized as one of the highest honors given for outstanding work in applied chemistry in the United States. It commemorates the discovery of the first synthetic dye (Perkin mauve) by Sir William Henry Perkin in 1856. This discovery was a significant step forward in organic chemistry that led to the birth of a major segment of the chemical industry.
The Perkin Medal was first awarded to Sir William at a banquet in New York in 1906. The room was festooned with banners dyed a brilliant Perkin mauve, a piece of which is on display in our museum. Today the award is presented as part of Innovation Day.
2018 Medalist: Barbara Haviland Minor
After the 2018 Innovation Day events at the Science History Institute, the Society of Chemical Industry (SCI), America Section, presented its prestigious Perkin Medal to Barbara Haviland Minor. She received the medal at a dinner in her honor on Tuesday, September 25.
After graduating from Bucknell University in 1981, Minor joined the DuPont Company. She worked at DuPont for 34 years, until a 2015 spinoff to a new company called the Chemours Company, where Minor works today.
Minor has spent most of her career developing non–ozone depleting and low-global-warming refrigerants for air conditioning and refrigeration applications. She has developed several new refrigerants to help meet phase-out requirements for ozone-destroying chlorofluorocarbons and hydrochlorofluorocarbons and high-global-warming hydrofluorocarbons. In 2010 she received a DuPont Sustainable Growth Award for development of a low-global-warming hydrofluoroolefin refrigerant named HFO-1234yf for automotive air conditioning. Because HFO-1234yf contains an unsaturated double bond, it has a more than 99% lower global warming potential than the refrigerant HFC-134a used in vehicles today. HFO-1234yf has been adopted by all major auto companies and is already used globally in over 20 million vehicles. Minor has also developed other new refrigerants that have been installed in thousands of residential air-conditioning and supermarket refrigeration systems around the world. She holds over 160 U.S. patents for refrigerants, cleaning agents, and aerosol propellants and has written many publications in the field. She has traveled globally for many years speaking at conferences and seminars on alternative refrigerants to address ozone and climate-change issues.
In 2014 Minor was one of the first women in the company’s more than 200-year history to be named a DuPont Fellow, which is the highest technical level at DuPont. She is now one of only two Chemours Fellows in the Chemours Company.
Minor is active in refrigeration and air-conditioning industry organizations. She is currently chair of the Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Technology Institute Steering Committee and chair of the Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute Research and Technology Committee. These committees conduct research into new refrigeration technologies for the benefit of the industry. She is also an active member of the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning (ASHRAE). She currently serves on the ASHRAE Refrigeration Committee and Technical Activities Committee and is past chair of the TC 3.1 Refrigerant and Secondary Coolants Technical Committee.
Minor received a BS in chemical engineering from Bucknell.
Previous Winners of the SCI Perkin Medal
The SCI Perkin Medal has been presented since 1906, when the very first award went to Sir William Henry Perkin. For a full list of winners visit SCI’s website.
About the Society of Chemical Industry
SCI is a unique multidisciplinary forum where science meets business on independent, impartial ground. SCI provides the opportunity for sharing information among sectors as diverse as food and agriculture, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, environmental science, and safety.
Established in 1881 as the Society of Chemical Industry, SCI is today a registered charity with individual members in over 70 countries. Its headquarters are in London.
Ever since its foundation SCI’s principal objective has been to further the application of chemistry and related sciences for the public benefit, through our events and publication.