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Stephanie Kwolek
Ceramic Sculpture
40" x 13" x 13"

Stephanie Kwolek (1923- )

Stephanie Kwolek credits her father for her love of science. He died when she was 10 years old. In 1946 she earned a degree in chemistry from Carnegie Mellon and took a temporary job at Dupont to fund her study of medicine. She found the work there so interesting she decided to stay and work on experiments. She invented Kevlar when she and a group of scientists were searching for a lightweight yet strong fiber for automobile tires. The experiments were a failure until she convinced the technicians to try and experiment a different way. The result was Kevlar, a lightweight fiber five times stronger than steel. Kevlar is used in bullet proof vests, tires, skis, gloves, rope, airplanes, boats, and athletic shoes. 2,274 police officers have been saved by her bullet proof vests. In 40 years of research Stephanie has received 28 patents by herself and 16 patents with others as well as many prestigious accolades such as the Kilby award, the National Medal of Technology and the 1999 Lemilson M.I.T. Achievement Award.