Public Release: 

Discoverer of life-saving Nomex fire-resistant material earns Lavoisier Achievement award

Only 65 scientists ever awarded honor by DuPont -- which marks its 200th anniversary in July


WILMINGTON, DE, June, 20, 2002 -- Dr. Wilfred Sweeny - the scientist who revolutionized firefighting, professional racing and other thermal-related professions by discovering the life-saving Nomex® fire retardant material -- will be among four scientists Friday awarded the prestigious Lavoisier Medals of Achievement.

Sweeny will join Dr. John Duncia, inventor of the high-blood pressure treatment drug Cozaar® which has been prescribed to more than 10 million patients since 1995; Dr. Art Etchells, one of the world's premier experts and educators in fluid flow and mixing who helped in the development of Tyvek®; and, Dr. George Vassilatos, a master of high-speed fiber spinning processes who assisted in the broad success of Kevlar® and Lycra®. Only 65 scientists have ever been awarded this honor by DuPont - which marks its 200th Anniversary in 2002.

Dr. Thomas Connelly

Former NASA leader Dan Goldin, the longest-serving administrator in NASA's history, will join DuPont Chairman and CEO Chad Holliday and DuPont Chief Science and Technology Officer Dr. Thomas Connelly in honoring the four Lavoisier Medals of Achievement recipients at a public event 9 a.m. Friday at The Playhouse Theatre in Wilmington. Media outlets are welcomed to attend.

"As a premier science company, DuPont has tremendous strengths in our science and technology capabilities," Connelly said. "These 4 recipients exemplify the excellence of DuPont. Their work has had incredible business impact. Their scientific achievements have enduring significance. They are outstanding science and innovation role models for those working to unleash the next wave of innovation."

As the highest honor of science excellence awarded by DuPont, the Lavoisier Medal of Achievement is named in honor of Antoine Lavoisier - recognized as "the father of modern chemistry" - who served as a mentor to DuPont founder E.I. du Pont.

A summary of each 2002 Lavoisier Medal of Achievement honoree follows:

Dr. Wilfred Sweeney

Dr. Wilfred Sweeny: Dr. Sweeny is named as the inventor and co-inventor on 23 U.S. patents - including his discoveries leading to life-saving Nomex® fire resistant material. The discovery of Nomex® revolutionized thermal-related professions - including fire fighting, professional racing and plant operations. Today, Nomex® -- which has protected fire fighters for more than 30 years - is used by 95 percent of racing professionals around the world. During his 38-year career with DuPont, Dr. Sweeny also laid the groundwork for the development of commercial basic-dyeable Dacron® polyester.

Dr. John Duncia

Dr. John Duncia: As the lead scientist, Dr. Duncia's discovery of Cozaar® dramatically changed the treatment for those inflicted with hypertension. The discovery of Cozaar® and the resulting patents created a new class of hypertensive drugs, a vastly-improved mode of drug therapy for treatment of hypertension. Since its inception in 1995, Cozaar® has been prescribed to more than 10 million patients globally.

Dr. Art Etchells

Dr. Art Etchells: Recognized as one of the world's premier experts and educators in the area of mixing and fluid flow, Dr. Etchells has worked with academics and industrialists to convert mixing technology from a qualitative methodology into a technically-sophisticated discipline. This innovation changed the way process industries looked at chemical reactors, formulations and scale-up processes. In 20 years, Dr. Etchells' discoveries have had both science and business impact on Tyvek®, Lycra® and Titanium Technologies businesses. In addition, he designed systems for nylon, Nomex®, and Performance Coatings businesses.

Dr. George Vassilatos

Dr. George Vassilatos: As a globally-renowned master of high-speed fiber spinning processes, Dr. Vassilatos discovered innovative concepts and designs to develop new process technology - which assisted in the success of Kevlar® and Lycra®. He established technology directions for a number of DuPont businesses - including nylon, Dacron®, and Typar® spunbonded nonwovens - during his 37-year career.

During 2002, DuPont is celebrating its 200th year of scientific achievement and innovation -- providing products and services that improve the lives of people everywhere. Based in Wilmington, Del., DuPont delivers science-based solutions for markets that make a difference in people's lives in food and nutrition; health care; apparel; home and construction; electronics; and transportation.


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