Bettye Washington Greene

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Bettye Washington Greene
Bettye Washington Greene at work.tif
Born(1935-03-20)March 20, 1935
DiedJune 16, 1995(1995-06-16) (aged 60)
Other namesBetty Greene, Bettye Washington
Alma materTuskegee Institute, Wayne State University
Spouse(s)William M. Greene
ChildrenWilletta Greene Johnson, Victor M. Greene; Lisa Kianne Greene
Scientific career
FieldsPhysical chemistry
InstitutionsDow Chemical

Bettye Washington Greene (March 20, 1935 – June 16, 1995) was an American industrial research chemist. She 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] Dr. Greene is considered an early African American pioneer in science.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Bettye Washington was born in Fort Worth, Texas.[3] 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.[4] She also taught undergraduate chemistry at this time.[5] Her doctoral dissertation, "Determination of particle size distributions in emulsions by light scattering" was published in 1965.[6]

She was elected to Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society.[3]


Dow Chemical[edit]

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] Dr. Greene served as a Consultant on Polymers issues in the Saran Research Laboratory and the Styrene Butadiene (SB) Latex group often utilized her expertise and knowledge.[7] At Dow, she researched colloid and latex chemistry, including interactions between latex and paper.[3]

In 1970, Dr. Greene 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.[3] She was subsequently promoted to the position of senior research specialist in 1975.[7] She continued to work for Dow Chemical until her retirement in 1990.[1][3][8] She published several papers studying different properties that lend to the redispersement of latex.[9] She left Dow Chemical in 1985.

After decades of contribution to the science of polymers, she passed away in Midland on June 16 1995.[8]


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.[10][11]


Greene held a number of patents including a latex-based adhesive using a carboxylic acid copolymerizing agent, and latex polymers with phosphates used as coatings: [12][9]

  • 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 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. ^ "The Complete List of Genius Black Inventors, Scientists and Engineers That Changed the World". 2018-05-04. Retrieved 2020-07-12.
  3. ^ a b c d e Warren, Wini (1999). Black women scientists in the United States. Bloomington, Ind. [u.a.]: Indiana University Press. pp. 109–110. ISBN 0253336031.
  4. ^ 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. Bibcode:1966JCIS...22..179H. doi:10.1016/0021-9797(66)90082-8. PMID 5983141.
  5. ^ Warren, Wini. (1999). Black women scientists in the United States. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. p. 109. ISBN 0-253-33603-1. OCLC 42072097.
  6. ^ Greene, Bettye W. (1965). Determination of particle size distributions in emulsions by light scattering. Detroit, Michigan: Wayne State University, Dept. of Chemistry.
  7. ^ a b "Dr. Bettye Washington Greene (1935-1995)". Science History Institute Digital Collections. Retrieved 2020-06-10.
  8. ^ a b "Dr. Bettye Washington Greene..." Blacksciencefictionsociety. 2020-02-17. Retrieved 2020-06-10.
  9. ^ a b "9 black chemists you should know about". 9 black chemists you should know about. Retrieved 2020-06-10.
  10. ^ "Our History". Midland Alumnae Chapter. Retrieved 1 April 2014.
  11. ^ Wade, Cheryl (15 March 2014). "Delta Sigma Theta Sorority (Midland chapter) brings women together to celebrate 30th". Midland Daily News. Retrieved 1 April 2014.
  12. ^ "Patents by Inventor Bettye W. Greene". Justia Patents. Retrieved 22 March 2014.

External links[edit]