Author Fred Aftalion to Receive the Franklin-Lavoisier Prize

Fred Aftalion

March 25, 2014 - PHILADELPHIA

The Chemical Heritage Foundation (CHF) and the Fondation de la Maison de la Chimie (FMC) will present the Franklin-Lavoisier Prize to author Fred Aftalion in a dinner ceremony on April 3, 2014, at CHF in Philadelphia.

“Fred is one of the world’s leading experts on the global chemical enterprise,” said Carsten Reinhardt, president and CEO of CHF. “After a distinguished career in the chemical industry in France, Fred wrote A History of the International Chemical Industry, bringing together a lifetime of insight in a unique history covering nearly two centuries.”

About Fred Aftalion 

A graduate of the École Nationale Supérieure de Chimie de Paris, Fred Aftalion devoted his life’s work to chemistry. He studied under Herman Mark in Brooklyn Polytechnic’s Polymer Institute in 1946. His first job in the chemical industry was as an engineer with Hercules, with which he spent five years in the United States and Latin America. Returning to France in 1951, he joined Naphtachimie, where he set up the marketing networks of what was then a new petrochemicals company.

Called in by Laboratoire Roger Bellon in 1956 to take over the management of the Société Française d’Organo-Synthèse (SFOS), he turned it over the course of the next three decades into an efficient specialty chemicals enterprise. Aftalion also served as president of Société la Vermiculite et la Perlite, now an affiliate of Elf Aquitaine, and he became a board member of Rhône Poulenc Specialités Chimiques when SFOS was acquired by that company. He is currently a member of the Board of Directors of Total Chimie and of the Maison de la Chimie.

As an author, Fred Aftalion has recorded and enhanced our understanding of our chemical heritage, and has helped make known to the broader public the important impact of the chemical sciences and technologies. His book, A History of the International Chemical Industry, is a seminal work of history and a unique publication, chronicling the rise of the chemical industry around the globe and the important human benefits that it has brought. The only book of its kind, A History of the International Chemical Industry has also advanced the sense of community among the various participants in the chemical endeavor.

About the Franklin-Lavoisier Prize

Created in 2008, the Franklin-Lavoisier Prize is jointly awarded by the Fondation de la Maison de la Chimie in Paris and the Chemical Heritage Foundation. Named for Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier and Benjamin Franklin, two of the 18th century’s greatest minds, this prize recognizes unusually meritorious efforts in the preservation or promotion of the entwined scientific heritage of France and the United States.

The purpose of the award is to acknowledge commendable work in the preservation and highlighting of any aspect of our common scientific or industrial heritage in the fields of chemistry and its related applications, the promotion of the history of the chemical and molecular sciences and industries, or the fostering of closer Franco-American ties and the promotion of significant activities in the chemical sciences or industries.

FMC and CHF also seek to promote public understanding of Franco-American relations in science, industry, and economics in both historical and modern contexts.

Accompanied by a monetary award of €15,000, the Franklin-Lavoisier Prize is awarded every two years by a five-member international jury. Award ceremonies take place alternately in the United States and France.

About the Sponsors

About the Fondation de la Maison de la Chimie

The Fondation de laa Maison de la Chimie was founded in 1928, in Paris, with the goal of building and maintaining a central meeting and working space to promote the popularization of science and was organized for the service of chemists worldwide. To fulfill this mission the Maison de la Chimie provides a number of services and activities to facilitate cooperation among all those working to promote chemistry as one of the basic disciplines of science and technology.

About the Chemical Heritage Foundation

CHF fosters dialogue on science and technology in society. Our staff and fellows study the past in order to understand the present and inform the future. We focus on matter and materials and their effect on our modern world in territory ranging from the physical sciences and industries, through the chemical sciences and engineering, to the life sciences and technologies. We collect, preserve, and exhibit historical artifacts; engage communities of scientists and engineers; and tell the stories of the people behind breakthroughs and innovations.

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