CATALYST: a substance that brings about a change without itself being changed


POLYMER: a substance with a structure made of many similar smaller units linked together


POLYURETHANE: foam or fibre made from a combination of organic compounds


SILICON: a chemical element that occurs in many rocks and soils and in the structure of living organisms

Kenrick Lewis (Date of Birth: 11th Nov 1948)

Caribbean Icons in STI Vol 1

Dr. Kenrick Lewis is known for his contribution to the development of silicones and polyurethane. His silicone work involves using copper catalysts to create silicones from silicon. Dr. Lewis’ research on polyurethane has produced a mathematical model to produce the ideas structure in foam manufacture. It is applied in foams used in refrigerators, cushions, and in construction. Dr. Lewis is a Corporsate Research Fellow with the OSi Specialties Group of GE SIlicones in Tarrytown, New York.

Kenrick Martin Lewis was born in Gouyave, Grenada, on November 11th 1948. He attended the St. John’s Anglican Primary School and the Grenada Boys’ Secondary School on an Under 12 Scholarship. He participated in drama, singing and sports and was the president of the science club.

He entered university in Canada in 1967 on a British Commonwealth scholarship. He obtained the BSc in Chemistry from the University of Alberta in Edmonton (1971) and a PhD in Inorganic and Analytical Chemistry from the University of Massachusetts (1976).

Dr. Lewis received many awards including being named a Key Contributor to his company’s Kirkpatrick Award for chemical process innovation in 1999. Recently, the US National Society of Black Engineers awarded him the 2004 Golden Torch for lifetime contributions to technology.

Dr. Lewis has written several technical papers, co-edited a book on silicon chemistry, served on review panels of the National Science Foundation of the USA and contributed to research programmes involving his company and US universities. He belongs to several professional scientific societies inclusion the American Chemical Society and the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC).

Since 1991, Dr. Lewis has sponsored the Dr. Aloysius Charles Scholarship Fund, which provides a top student in Grenada each year with financial support for five years of secondary schooling. He is the current Vice-President of the Grenada Boys’ Secondary School Alumni Association, New York, which supports the school through donations and scholarships.

His advice to youngsters is: “Be curious. Begin with the vast outdoor laboratory available to you. Observe the plants, the animals, the sea and rivers and natural phenomena. Ask why and how events occur. Think of possibilities and set goals using the ‘I wish I could’ approach. Talk to people about your visions and read to seek information to fulfill them.”