At the SDC’s recent Day of Celebration Professor Mas Subramanian was awarded the Perkin Medal ‘for unique and outstanding contributions to the coloration industry through the development of a Novel Blue Pigment.’
The SDC’s most prestigious award, the Perkin Medal was last awarded in 2005 and is awarded only in exceptional circumstances. The award of the medal is for “inventions of striking scientific or industrial merit, applicable to, or connected with, the tinctorial industries”.
In 2009 Professor Subramanian discovered a family of blue pigments, now called YInMn blue, which have since featured in leading international press. The pigment is a brilliant blue, known as “YInMn” blue. It’s based on an oxide made of Yttrium(Y), Indium (In) and Manganese (Mn) and the YInMn name is shorthand for that. The pigment can be used in a wide range of coatings and plastics. A beautiful shade of blue, it has excellent colour fastness properties.
In 2017 Crayola introduced a new blue crayon ‘bluetiful’ inspired by this blue pigment discovery. Shepherd Color Company has licensed the YInMn blue technology from Oregon State University for commercial applications such as durable industrial coatings including energy saving cool coatings for buildings and automobiles. YInMn Blue is the first discovery of a new blue pigment since cobalt blue was discovered in 1802.
Professor Subramanian commented: “I am much honoured and humbled to be selected to receive the 2019 Perkin Medal for the YInMn blue pigment discovery from the Society of Dyers and Colourists. It is very rewarding knowing that this medal is most prestigious and is awarded by the SDC only in exceptional circumstances. As a chemist, I am thrilled to receive this medal, named after William Henry Perkin whose historical serendipitous discovery of the purple dye mauveine is somewhat akin to our YInMn blue pigment discovery.”
About Professor Subramanian
Professor Mas Subramanian is a world-class, experimental solid-state materials chemist who is internationally renowned for the many new compositions of matter that he has discovered and for the wide range of important physical and chemical properties that they reveal. He received his BS and MS degrees in Chemistry from University of Madras, India and a PhD from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras. Subsequently, he was a NSF postdoctoral fellow at Texas A&M University. From 1984 to 2006 he was employed as Research scientist at DuPont Company (USA). In 2006, he joined Oregon State University as a Milton Harris Chair Professor of Materials Science. Recently he was also awarded a title of Distinguished Professor of Chemistry by the university. Professor Subramanian has authored 340 peer reviewed publications and holds 56 patents.
History of the Perkin Medal
In the early years of the 20th century, the Society established awards to recognise outstanding achievements in research or technology. Foremost was the Perkin Medal, established shortly after the jubilee of the discovery of mauve to commemorate Sir William Henry Perkin’s unique contribution to the coloration industry. Sir William had kindly consented to his name being used when the award was announced at the Annual Dinner of the Society in March 1907.
The first award was made in 1908 for the synthesis of alizarin. Until this year, there have been a further 23 awards made during the past 98 years for outstanding discoveries and inventions in the tinctorial arts and related fields, such as the synthesis of indigo, the permanent lustre on cotton, the discovery of Nylon and Terylene, the synthesis of reactive dyes and the invention of vapour phase transfer printing. It is the SDC’s most prestigious medal.