Edith Flanigen is a Chemist with Honeywell and has achieved an amazing 109 patents during her career as a woman in science

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Honeywell Chemist Edith Flanigen has 109 patents

Honeywell Chemist Edith Flanigen has 109 patents

Edith Flanigen is a Chemist with Honeywell who has been inventing for more than 50 years. Edith has an impressive 109 patents to her name and has received numerous honors – she was the first woman to be awarded the Perkin Medal in 1998, America’s top honor in applied chemistry, and she received the National Medal of Technology and Innovation in 2014. 

Edith began her career at Union Carbide in 1952 and currently works as a Consultant at Honeywell UOP in White Plains, New York. She shares insight into her career so far.

Furthering curiosity through science

Edith first got into chemistry back in high school. She says: "I had an excellent chemistry teacher and she was one who insisted on hands-on, even in high school. Subsequently in college, I went to a small women’s college in Buffalo – D’Youville College – an excellent chemistry teacher there also instilled it in me."

What interested Edith in chemistry is that it involves making something and creating a new material. She adds: "In terms of the overall purpose that I had throughout my career, it was trying to discover or invent new materials." 

Edith has "an innate curiosity about anything" and believes she inherited this trait from her father: "It came mainly from my father, who had insatiable curiosity about everything. He was a salesperson for a lumber company – he had all sorts of interesting hobbies on the side."

Life as a woman both inside and outside the laboratory

Edith was surprised to find an "unusual number of women" working in the laboratory at Union Carbide especially for the era. She adds: "While I was at that division, two [of my] sisters joined the same laboratory doing research." 

Working with Honeywell, Edith's day-to-day work involves interacting, usually one-on-one, with the people in the new materials group in the research department.

Edith explains: "They’re continuing to do what I used to do. I find it very interesting and offer opinions and comments on what they’re doing. Hopefully positively, but not always. I also have library access to journals – I want to keep up in the field."

Feeling inspired by others and finding good mentors

Edith draws inspiration from "being successful and discovering new materials" along with her coworkers. When it comes to offering advice to other women in science, Edith suggests that they look for mentors, as well as mastering the skills of writing, communicating and working in teams. 

Outside of work, Edith enjoys being involved with her church and is an Eucharistic Minister and Lector. She has also been very active in sports as a tennis player. Edith adds: "I still keep up with regular exercise in a gym. It’s critical."

Join inspirational women like Edith at Honeywell

If you have a curious mind, your career could start to soar just like Edith's through working with Honeywell. Search and apply for exciting opportunities today. 


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