Southern Nevada Section

Woman Chemists as Inventors

Women Chemists in the National Inventors' Hall of Fame

By: Mary Virginia Orna

College of New Rochelle

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

5:30 PM-Reception, 6:00 PM-Section Meeting and Presentation

US EPA Auditorium

944 East Harmon Ave.

Las Vegas, NV 89119

Visitors are welcome!

Abstract: The National Inventors' Hall of Fame celebrates the creative and entrepreneurial spirit of great inventors by showcasing exhibits and presentations that allow visitors to experience the excitement of discovery, creativity and imagination. Founded in 1972 and located in Akron, Ohio, USA, the Hall of Fame is dedicated to the individuals who conceived the great technological advances which the USA fosters through its patent system. Each year a Selection Committee composed of representatives from national scientific and technical organizations votes to select the most qualified inventors from those nominated for the current year. To date, only 13 women of the more than 375 inventors thus honored are members of the Hall of Fame, and of these 13, seven are chemists. This talk will highlight the extraordinary contributions these women have made to our health and well-being through such inventions as chemotherapeutic agents, Kevlar, Scotchgard, and easy self-diagnosis for diabetes.


Sister Mary Virginia Orna, O.S.U. (Order of Saint Ursula) is professor of chemistry at the College of New Rochelle and Editor-at-Large, Chemical Heritage magazine. She has lectured and published widely in the areas of color chemistry and archaeological chemistry. Major awards: the 1984 CMA Catalyst Award for excellence in college chemistry teaching, the 1989 New York State Professor of the Year and National Gold Medalist, the 1989 Merck Innovation Award, the 1996 ACS Visiting Scientist Award, the 1996 James Flack Norris Award, the 1999 ACS George C. Pimentel Award in Chemical Education, and the 2001 New England Association of Chemistry Teachers J. A. Timm Award for excellence in chemistry teaching. She is presently president of ChemSource,Inc., a major effort in chemistry teacher preparation and enhancement funded by the National Science Foundation. She was a Fulbright Fellow in Israel (1994-95), where she lectured at The Hebrew University, The Weizmann Institute of Science, Shenkar College of Textile Technology, 2008 Henry Hill Award, and 2009 ACS Volunteer Service Award.


 Sister Mary Virginia Orna

This was a first rate talk about seven remarkable inventors.  Those of us who have suffered from athete's foot appriciated the effort required to produce the first anti fungus drug.  More remarkable was that it was done before antibiotics or even sulfa drugs.