1923 Charles M. A. Stine
DuPont first embarked on systematic, large-scale basic research due to the efforts of Dr. Charles M. A. Stine (1882-1954). The result was the invention of some of the world's first important synthetic materials and a long-term company commitment to corporate growth through discovery.
Stine earned his Ph.D. in chemistry at Johns Hopkins University and in 1907 joined DuPont's Eastern Laboratory where he improved the TNT production process. In 1916 Stine established the Organic Chemicals Division within the DuPont Chemical Department, and in 1923 he became the director of the entire department. Stine favored a theoretical approach over simple empiricism and set out to convince Lammot du Pont and other senior managers to invest in a pure research program, highlighting increased scientific prestige for DuPont, easier recruitment of scientists, and the possibility of profitable discoveries.
In 1927 DuPont accepted Stine's proposal and earmarked $300,000 annually for pure research. A new laboratory, informally dubbed "Purity Hall," was also established at the Experimental Station. Stine began assembling teams of scientists to work along a number of lines of investigation, but he had trouble finding a head for the organic chemistry section. After a frustrating search and five refusals, he finally secured Harvard instructor Wallace Carothers. Stine encouraged Carothers to pursue his interest in polymerization, which resulted in the discoveries of neoprene synthetic rubber and nylon.
In 1930 Stine was made a vice president and director of DuPont and given a seat on the company's Executive Committee. Stine had earlier been enthusiastic about the possibilities of nuclear research, but as World War II drew to a close, he became convinced that DuPont could not shoulder the expense alone. His concerns influenced the company's decision not to become involved in the postwar nuclear industry. Stine's record at DuPont made him an internationally recognized scientist and in 1939 he was awarded the Perkin Medal of the American Society of the Chemical Industry. He retired in 1945, having helped establish DuPont as the leading chemical corporation of the mid-20th century.