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Elsa Reichmanis

Elsa Reichmanis

CHF Collections

  • Born: December 9, 1953, Melbourne, Australia

  Interview Details

Interview no.: 0222
Interview Date: August 1, 2001
Location: Murray Hill, New Jersey
Interviewer: David C. Brock
No. of pages: 55
Sponsor: Society of Chemical Industry
Society of Chemical Industry

  Abstract of Interview

Elsa Reichmanis begins the interview with a description of her family's immigration to the United States and her childhood years in Syracuse, New York. Reichmanis developed an interest in chemistry after taking a high school chemistry course. After graduating a year early from high school, she enrolled at Syracuse University. While obtaining her B.S. in chemistry, Reichmanis performed heteroaromatic chemistry research in Apostolos G. Anastassiou's laboratory. Completing her degree in three years, she decided to remain at Syracuse University for her Ph.D. Upon matriculation, Reichmanis took a technical staff position at AT&T Bell Laboratories, which is currently known as Bell Labs, Lucent Technologies, where she still remains. Reichmanis' work has focused on deep-UV lithography, such as the creation of 248 nm and 193 nm resist technologies. Currently, she is performing photonic research. While at Bell Labs, Reichmanis has held numerous positions ranging from technical staff to supervisor to director. Elsa Reichmanis concludes the interview with a discussion of Valerie J. Kuck's research on women in chemistry, the definition of innovation, and the future of chemistry.


1972 B.S., Chemistry, Syracuse University
1975 Ph.D., Organic Chemistry, Syracuse University

  Professional Experience

Syracuse University

1972 - 1972 Organic Chemistry Teaching Assistant

Syracuse University

1973 - 1975 Research Fellow

Syracuse University

1975 - 1976 Postdoctoral Intern

Syracuse University

1976 - 1978 Dr. Chaim Weizmann Fellow

AT&T Bell Laboratories

1978 - 1984 Technical Staff, Organic Chemistry Research and Development Department

AT&T Bell Laboratories

1984 - 1994 Supervisor, Radiation Sensitive and Applications Group

AT&T Bell Laboratories

1994 - 1995 Head, Polymer and Organic Materials Research Department

Bell Laboratories, Lucent Technologies

1996 Director, Polymer and Organic Materials Research Department


1972 Phi Beta Kappa
1992 R&D 100 Award, Research and Development Magazine
1993 Society of Women Engineers Achievement Award
1995 Elected to the National Academy of Engineering
1995 AT&T Bell Laboratories Fellow
1996 ASM International Engineering Materials Achievement Award
1997 Elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science
1998 Photopolymer Science and Technology Award
1999 Award in Applied Polymer Science, American Chemical Society
2001 Perkin Medal, Society of Chemical Industry
2001 George Arents Pioneer Medal, Syracuse University

  Table of Contents

Title and Description Page

Childhood and Early Education 1

Parents. Family. Emigration from Australia to the United States. Growing up in Syracuse, New York. Importance of education. Beulah P. Durr. Budding interest in chemistry. Assessment of current science and mathematics education in public schools. Hobbies.

College Education 8

Graduating early from high school. Applying to Syracuse University. Undergraduate research. Apostolos G. Anastassiou. Heteroaromatic chemistry. Finishing college in three years. Decision to stay at Syracuse University for graduate school. Ph.D. dissertation. Weizmann Fellowship.

Career at Bell Laboratories 18

The Bell Labs reputation. Reflections on meeting and marrying Francis J. Purcell. Interest in deep-UV lithography. Larry F. Thompson and Murrae J. Bowden. The importance of knowing one's limitations. Laboratory budgets. Technology-licensing program. Research into deep-UV resists. Edwin A. Chandross and Cletus W. Wilkins, Jr. 248 nm resists. Francis M. Houlihan and Thomas X. Neenan. SEMATECH and Olin Ciba-Geigy Microelectronic Materials, Inc. (now Arch Chemicals, Inc.) contract for the commercialization of 248 nm technologies. Promotion to supervisor, radiation sensitive materials and applications group. Birth of children. 193 nm technology. Promotion to director of polymer and organic chemistry research. Agree Systems, Inc. Photonics.

Conclusion 43

Thoughts on mentoring young scientists. Valerie J. Kuck's research. Women in chemistry. Definition of innovation. Serendipity and research. The future of chemistry.

Notes 49

Index 51

  About the Interviewer

David C. Brock

David C. Brock is a senior research fellow with the Center for Contemporary History and Policy at the Chemical Heritage Foundation. As a historian of science and technology, he specializes in the history of semiconductor science, technology, and industry; the history of instrumentation; and oral history. Brock has studied the philosophy, sociology, and history of science at Brown University, the University of Edinburgh, and Princeton University.

In the policy arena Brock recently published Patterning the World: The Rise of Chemically Amplified Photoresists, a white-paper case study for the Center’s Studies in Materials Innovation. With Hyungsub Choi he is preparing an analysis of semiconductor technology roadmapping, having presented preliminary results at the 2009 meeting of the Industry Studies Association.

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