Shirley E. Schwartz
Home / Timeline Stories / Shirley E. Schwartz

Shirley E. Schwartz

(1935 – 2016)

Shirley E. Schwartz, Ph.D., an extraordinary chemist and senior staff research scientist at General Motors Corporation, developed numerous products to protect the environment and facilitate the conservation of the earth’s resources.

Schwartz earned three academic degrees in chemistry: a B.S. in 1957, a M.S. in 1962, and a Ph.D. in 1970. After conducting postdoctoral research in chemistry, she returned to school and earned a degree in mathematics. While working for BASF Corporation, Schwartz developed an industrial lubricant, consisting primarily of water, which saved considerable amounts of oil and reduced pollution. At General Motors she participated in the creation of automatic oil change indicator systems in production vehicles. These products are considered breakthrough advancements in automotive technology.

Dr. Schwartz has made presentations throughout the world. Her publication record is extensive, as is her record of patents and products. Schwartz has published an impressive list of essays, resulting from her 30 years of work as a freelance writer.

In addition to her scientific contributions, Schwartz worked extensively with youth across Michigan. She encouraged a large number of students, especially those from groups under-represented in her field, to pursue careers in science and mathematics. In l992 Schwartz participated in Girl Scout Career Day in Dearborn and conducted four workshops at the AALTW Exploration in 1994.

Numerous awards have been bestowed upon Dr. Schwartz including the 1988 General Motors Kettering Award, the 1993 General Motors McCuen Award, and the 1989 Gold Award from the Engineering Society of Detroit. She was also awarded the 1987 Wilbur Deutsch Memorial Award from the Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers, the 1992 Colwell Award, and the 1995 Distinguished Speaker Award from the Society of Automotive Engineers.