Oral history interview with Stephanie L. Kwolek (1998)

Oral history interview with Stephanie L. Kwolek (1998)

  • 1998-Mar-21

Stephanie Kwolek begins the interview with a discussion of her early career at DuPont. She joined DuPont in 1946, the same year she earned her B.S. in chemistry at Carnegie-Mellon University. Kwolek spent much of her time working on polymers, including aliphatic and aromatic polyamides. She discusses her level of independence in the laboratory, as well as her relationship with her supervisors. Kwolek began work with 1,4-B and was able to get a high molecular weight polymer. It was eventually discovered that the polymer spun beautifully and was quite strong. This polymer became Kevlar. Kwolek describes industry competition, the testing and scale-up of Kevlar, and the problems of confidentiality. She further discusses the relationship between Kevlar and Paul Flory's theory of liquid polymer crystals. Kwolek concludes the interview with comments on her love of writing, her decision to leave DuPont, and the future of polymer research.

Place of interview
Original file type MP3, PDF
  • 31 pages
Rights In Copyright - Non-Commercial Use Permitted
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  • Science History Institute
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  • Courtesy of Science History Institute

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Cite as

Stephanie Kwolek, interviewed by Bernadette Bensaude-Vincent in Wilmington, Delaware on March 21, 1998. Philadelphia: Science History Institute, n.d. Oral History Transcript 0168. https://digital.sciencehistory.org/works/vh53ww75r.

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Transcript (Published Version)

The published version of the transcript may diverge from the interview audio due to edits to the transcript made by staff of the Center for Oral History, often at the request of the interviewee, during the transcript review process.

Complete Interview Audio File Web-quality download

4 Separate Interview Segments Archival-quality downloads