Perkin Medal


History and Purpose:

The Perkin Medal was established to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the discovery of mauvene. Today it is widely acknowledged as the highest honor in American industrial chemistry. Perkin was a founding Member of SCI and this Medal was first presented in New York to Perkin himself.

Since 1906 SCI’s America Group has honored many inspiring and brilliant scientists in Perkin’s name.  Ranging from Edward Acheson of graphite and carborundum fame to Carl Djerassi who developed the first contraceptive pill, awards have demonstrated the contribution of science to today’s world. Names like I Langmuir, Glen Seaborg and Heinman Hass sit alongside those of Arthur D Little and Milton Harris, who transformed the way research and whole enterprises were managed.

The award is presented in September at the Hyatt Hotel in Philadelphia.  Attended by a wide range of scientists and executives from science-based industries, it provides an excellent opportunity to network with those working to advance modern industrial chemistry.

Sir William Henry Perkin:


Sir William Henry Perkin (1838-1907) at the age of 18 created the world’s first synthetic aniline dye, which revolutionized color chemistry and opened up new possibilities for a whole range of industries; most notably, textiles and clothing.

Perkin was born in England and entered the Royal College of Science at 15. At 18, in private experiments attempting to make quinine, he inadvertently created a dye. Just six months later mauve was being used in a London dyehouse. He enjoyed international acclaim and went on to more discoveries and opened his own factories. He ‘retired’ from industry to focus on ‘pure science’ at the age of 36.

2016 Perkin Award Medalist – Peter Trefonas


PHILADELPHIA—May 5 2016—The Society of Chemical Industry (SCI), America Group, announced today that Peter Trefonas, Ph.D., corporate fellow in Electronic Materials at The Dow Chemical Company (NYSE: DOW), has won the 2016 SCI Perkin Medal.

This honor recognizes Trefonas’ contributions in the development of chemicals that enable microlithography for the fabrication of microelectronic circuits. His outstanding work in the creation of polymer photoresists used in the lithographic process, especially the development of antireflective coatings, enables patterning of smaller features, fitting more circuits in the same area. These advances in miniaturization enable the faster microprocessors and multitude of new electronic devices that are such a large part of daily life.

Trefonas will receive the medal at a dinner in his honor on Tuesday, September 13, 2016, at the Hilton Penn’s Landing Hotel in Philadelphia.

“Discovery, innovation, and achievement have defined the career of Dr. Trefonas,” said Fred Festa, chairman and chief executive officer of W.R. Grace & Co., and Chair of SCI America. “The SCI is pleased to recognize his remarkable success in our industry, his contributions to science, and his impact on the quality of our lives.”
“It is hard to imagine life without the smart devices we use, devices we upgrade frequently as technology improves. Peter’s advances in materials used in lithography make them possible, enabling circuit designs that are smaller and faster. Peter has been a driving force in our Electronic Materials business for decades, developing innovative technology, mentoring others and driving the organization to a high level of performance,” says A.N. Sreeram, Dow senior vice president and chief technology officer. “Peter’s selection as the recipient of the Society of Chemical Industry’s Perkin Medal is a fitting recognition of his innovative work.”

About Peter Trefonas
Peter Trefonas, Ph.D., is a Corporate Fellow in The Dow Chemical Company, where he works within the Dow Electronic Materials Business Group.
Trefonas made major contributions to the development of many successful products which are used in the production of integrated circuits spanning multiple device design generations, from 2 micron to 14 nm node technologies. These include photoresists, antireflectant coatings, underlayers, developers, ancillary products, and environmentally safer green products. These electronic materials have had a high commercial impact, and have helped to facilitate the progress of the Information Age.

He is an inventor on 61 US patents, has over 25 additional published active U.S. patent applications, is an author of 99 journal and technical publications, and is a recent recipient of both the 2014 ACS Heroes of Chemistry Award and the 2014 SPIE Willson Award.

Trefonas earned his Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry with Prof. Robert West at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1985 and his Bachelor of Science in chemistry at the University of New Orleans in 1980. Originally a native of New Orleans, Trefonas has lived with his family in Medway, Massachusetts for the last 27 years.

His research career began at Monsanto Electronics Materials Company. He then co-founded a start-up company called Aspect Systems Inc., which acquired lithographic chemicals technology spun off from Monsanto. He continued in electronic materials R&D as his career moved via acquisitions by Shipley Company, Rohm and Haas Company, and Dow. Prior to graduate school, Trefonas was also the creator of several commercial computer games which were popular on early microcomputer platforms.


Past Perkin Medalists

Perkin Medal Award Nomination Rules

Nomination Form