Bettye Washington Greene

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Bettye Washington Greene
Bettye Washington Greene at work.tif
Born (1935-03-20)March 20, 1935
Fort Worth, Texas, U.S.A.
Died June 16, 1995(1995-06-16) (aged 60)
Midland, Michigan, U.S.A.
Residence United States
Nationality United States
Other names Betty Greene, Bettye Washington
Alma mater Tuskegee Institute, Wayne State University
Spouse(s) William M. Greene
Children Willetta Greene Johnson, Victor M. Greene; Lisa Kiane Greene
Scientific career
Fields Physical chemistry
Institutions Dow Chemical

Bettye Washington Greene (March 20, 1935 – June 16, 1995) was the first African American female Ph.D. chemist to work in a professional position at the Dow Chemical Company. At Dow, she researched latex and polymers.[1]

Childhood and education

Bettye Washington was born in Fort Worth, Texas.[2] She attended segregated public schools and graduated from I.M. Terrell High School around 1952.

She entered Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, graduating with a B.S. in chemistry in 1955. Following her marriage to Veteran Airforce Captain William Miller Greene in 1955, she attended Wayne State University in Detroit, where she earned her Ph.D. in physical chemistry working with Wilfred Heller.[3] Her doctoral dissertation, "Determination of particle size distributions in emulsions by light scattering" was published in 1965.[4]

She was elected to Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society.[2]


Dow Chemical

In 1965, Greene joined the Dow Chemical Company's E. C. Britton Research Laboratory in Midland, Michigan. She was the first African-American woman to join the company in a professional position.[1] At Dow, she researched colloid and latex chemistry, including interactions between latex and paper.[2]

In 1970, she was promoted to senior research chemist at Dow Chemical. In 1973, she joined Dow Chemical's Designed Polymers Research Division, again working with latex, to find polymers that could improve latex. She continued to work for Dow Chemical until the late 1980s.[1][2]


Greene in 1970

Greene was a charter member of the Midland, Michigan Alumni Chapter of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, a national public service group emphasizing work with African American women.[1] The Midland chapter was chartered in 1984.[5][6]

Personal life and death

Greene died June 16, 1995.[1]


Greene held a number of patents, including:[7]

  • 4968740: Latex-based adhesive prepared by emulsion polymerization
  • 4609434: Composite sheet prepared with stable latexes containing phosphorus surface groups
  • 4506057: Stable latexes containing phosphorus surface groups


  1. ^ a b c d e Kativa, Hillary. "From African-American History to Women's History Month: Today we celebrate Dr. Betty Greene". Chemical Heritage Foundation. Retrieved 22 March 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d Warren, Wini (1999). Black women scientists in the United States. Bloomington, Ind. [u.a.]: Indiana University Press. pp. 109–110. ISBN 0253336031. 
  3. ^ Heller, Wilfried; Cheng, Mien-Hsiung; Greene, Bettye W. (August 1966). "Surface tension measurements by means of the "microcone tensiometer"". Journal of Colloid and Interface Science. 22 (2): 179–194. doi:10.1016/0021-9797(66)90082-8. 
  4. ^ Greene, Bettye W. (1965). Determination of particle size distributions in emulsions by light scattering. Detroit, Michigan: Wayne State University, Dept. of Chemistry. 
  5. ^ "Our History". Midland Alumnae Chapter. Retrieved 1 April 2014. 
  6. ^ Wade, Cheryl (15 March 2014). "Delta Sigma Theta Sorority (Midland chapter) brings women together to celebrate 30th". Midland Daily News. Retrieved 1 April 2014. 
  7. ^ "Patents by Inventor Bettye W. Greene". Justia Patents. Retrieved 22 March 2014. 

External links

Media related to Bettye Washington Greene at Wikimedia Commons

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