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Akimichi (Michi) Yokozeki

by Susan J. Ainsworth
July 14, 2014 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 92, Issue 28

Akimichi (Michi) Yokozeki, 71, a retired DuPont research scientist, died on April 9.

Born in Ueda, Japan, Yokozeki earned a Ph.D. in chemical physics from the University of Tokyo in 1971. He then held postdoctoral positions at Cornell University, the University of Toronto, Northwestern University, the University of Rochester, and Harvard University.

He joined DuPont in 1982, conducting research focused on chlorofluorocarbons and ozone depletion at the company’s Experimental Station in Wilmington, Del.

Later, he developed chlorine-free compounds for use as refrigerants, solvents, and blowing agents with DuPont’s Fluorochemicals group. Applying his knowledge of thermodynamics, molecular structure effects, mathematics, and computer programming, Yokozeki made a significant impact on the research, development, and commercialization of DuPont fluorochemical products.

He was the author or coauthor of more than 140 peer-reviewed articles and was named as inventor or coinventor on 26 U.S. patents. Yokozeki also took a sabbatical at Keio University in Tokyo, working with Koiche Watanabe . He conducted research on fluorochemicals and ionic liquids until his retirement in 2009.

Yokozeki received the DuPont Bolton/Carothers Innovative Science Award in 2005. The following year, he received the ACS Heroes of Chemistry Award for development of non-ozone-depleting refrigerant mixtures. He was a member of the Physical Society of Japan and a member of ACS from 1983 until 2007.

In retirement, Yokozeki wrote more than 75 essays focused on his life, philosophical ideas, and scientific subjects. He spent the past three years living in Spencerport, N.Y., where he could be close to his friend, Kim Bushman, and her family.

Yokozeki is survived by his brother, Masanori, and his sister, Noriko Ushiyama.

Obituary notices of no more than 300 words may be sent to Susan J. Ainsworth at and should include an educational and professional history.


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