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


Dr. Trefonas is a Corporate Fellow in The Dow Chemical Company, where he works within the Dow Electronic Materials Business Group. His research career began at Monsanto Electronics Materials Company, and then to co-founding 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 to the Dow Chemical Company. Prior to graduate school, Pete was also the creator of several commercial computer games which were popular on early microcomputer platforms.

Dr. 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 22 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 the Information Age.

The subjects of Pete’s scientific publications include photopolymer and photoresist chemistry, block copolymers and self-assembly, organic antireflectants, lithographic mechanistic simulations, organosilicon polymers, and a variety of other topics within the field of materials science. He is an inventor on 61 US patents, has over 25 additional published active US patent applications, is an author of 94 journal and technical publications, and has recently received the 2014 ACS Heroes of Chemistry Award and the 2014 SPIE Willson Award.

Pete earned his PhD in Inorganic Chemistry with Prof. Robert West at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1985, and his BS in Chemistry at the University of New Orleans in 1980. Originally a native of New Orleans, Dr. Trefonas has lived with his family in Medway, Massachusetts for the last 27 years.


Past Perkin Medalists

Perkin Medal Award Nomination Rules

Nomination Form