The name Stephanie Kwolek may not be familiar to most, but her creation Kevlar is known to many in law enforcement. Working as a scientist for Dupont, Kwolek discovered the technology behind bulletproof fabric that has saved countless lives.
Born in Pennsylvania, Kwolek went on to get a degree in Chemistry. She had originally planned to go to Medical School but could not afford the tuition. After graduation, Kwolek went to work for Dupont. She would go on to lead Polymer research there until her retirement in 1986. Sadly, Kwolek would not receive the financial windfall that Dupont gathered from her Kevlar discovery; she signed over the patent royalties to Dupont.
During her lifetime, Stephanie Kwolek was given the Lemelson-M.I.T. Lifetime Achievement Award, as well as being inducted to the National Inventors Hall of Fame in Ohio, The National Women’s Hall of Fame and the Plastics Hall of Fame.
After retirement Kwolek tutored high school students in Chemistry, with particular focus on helping young women with an interest in science.
Kwolek passed away Wednesday at the age of 90 years-old.