History of SCI America


The organization of the New York Section, a name changed to “America Section” in 1919, began by informal meetings of New York members of the parent organization SCI (Society of Chemical Industry) in May of 1894.  By the time its formal petition was recognized by SCI later that year membership had grown to about 350.  Members thronged to the monthly meetings to hear speakers such as Carl Duisberg, BASF’s pioneering research director and Leo Baekeland, inventor of Bakelite. The section quickly evolved into a focus of networking and communication, eschewing lobbying or chemical education.

The celebratory role of the New York Section was more durably established by the visit of the grand old man of the British chemical industry, William H. Perkin, in the fall of 1906.  To mark the very special occasion of his visit, the Section decided to give the aged Perkin a medal.  To complement the highly esteemed Perkin Medal, the Section began awarding the Chemical Industry Medal in 1933 to “a person making a valuable application of chemical research to industry.  Primary considerations shall be given to applications in the Public Interest”. Over the years, the roster of medal winners reads like a “Who’s Who” of the American chemical industry.

In recent years, the America Group has supplemented its activities to recognize achievement with programs that attract students to pursue careers in industrial chemistry. It also provides a forum for young researchers to network with their peers and develop a longer range understanding of the challenges and potential advances in chemical research.