With the 20th anniversary of Earth Day just recently passed, the time was right to recognize a scientist for his discovery of an "environmentally friendly" product. John E. Franz, distinguished science fellow at the Monsanto Agricultural Products Co. in St. Louis, has recently received the 1990 Perkin Medal, given by the American Section of the Society of Chemical Industry.

Established in 1906, the medal is named in honor of Sir William Henry Perkin, who developed the first synthetic dye in 1856. Given annually, the Perkin Medal honors contributions to research and development of applied chemistry.

Franz, 60, was cited by the society for his discovery of glyphosate, an herbicide that is effective against weeds but nontoxic to animals. "It's quite an honor," says Franz. "It's probably one of the best recognitions of a person's research."

The chemist began his studies of glyphosate in 1969, working with two phosphonic acid compounds....

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