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Eugene E. Magat

by Susan J. Ainsworth
November 29, 2010 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 88, Issue 48

Eugene E. Magat, 91, a DuPont chemist who helped discover Kevlar, died on Aug. 24 in Durham, N.C., after battling Parkinson’s disease.

Born in Kharkov, Russia, Magat spent his grade school years in Paris before moving to the U.S. in 1939. He then earned a B.S. in chemistry in 1943 and a Ph.D. in organic chemistry in 1945, both at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Magat then accepted a job as a polymer chemist in DuPont’s Fiber Research Department in Wilmington, Del., where he remained for 33 years and led the team that discovered and developed Kevlar.

He authored a book about the discovery of Kevlar and was credited with 29 publications and 30 patents.

Following his retirement from DuPont in 1978, Magat was a visiting professor at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He then moved to Chapel Hill, N.C., where he served as an administrator in the Army Research Office and later as a visiting research professor at Duke University; the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; and North Carolina State University. He was an emeritus member of ACS, which he joined in 1944. Magat was also a longtime member of the Unitarian Universalist church.

He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Phyllis; daughters, Barbara Cecil and Anita; and two granddaughters. His son, Wesley, predeceased him.


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