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African American scientist Dennis Weatherby is responsible for the Cascade dish detergent chemical formula. He was born in Brighton, Alabama, on December 4, 1959. Weatherby developed a love for science as a child. Following high school he attended Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio, on a football scholarship. He graduated with a bachelor of arts in chemistry in 1982.
Following graduation, Weatherby was employed by Proctor and Gamble as a process engineer. Within two years, he led a consumer products team focusing on developing a new detergent. Previous detergents stained both dishes and dishwashers. Weatherby and a co-developer Brian J. Roselle developed a dish solution with a lemon-yellow pigment that did not stain dishes. Weatherby patented the “automatic dishwasher detergent composition” formula on December 22, 1987. He was 27 years old. The formula is still used for all lemon-scented cleaning products containing bleach.
Weatherby left Protocor and Gamble and was briefly employed by The Whittaker Corporation. He then returned to his alma mater, Central State Univesity, in 1989 as a faculty member, advisor, recruiter, and counselor. He then joined the faculty of Auburn University in 1996 to launch the school’s new minority engineering program. After leaving Auburn, he was employed by the Univesity of Notre Dame in 2004, serving as an associate dean in the graduate school. He then accepted a position at Northern Kentucky University in 2006 as Associate Provost.
Weatherby experienced chronic high blood pressure throughout his life. In August 2007, he was recovering at home after a period of illness related when he hit his foot and developed a blood clot that traveled to his brain. Weatherby died on September 15, 2007. He was 47 years old, leaving behind a wife, four daughters, and two sons.
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