George Goldfinger

George Goldfinger (December 24, 1911- November 1, 1984)

Years of Service NC State University 1967-1977
Professor Emeritus 1977-1984
Professor of Textile Chemistry 1969-1977
Associate Professor of Textile Chemistry 1967- 1969

Professional Experience
University of Berlin, 1929-1933 Chemistry and Physics
University of Gottingen 1930-1931 Mathematics, Physics
University of Vienna 1933-1934 Graduate Research, Physical Chemistry
University of Liege, 1934-1936 Graduate Research in Physical Chemistry.
Thesis presented at the University of Paris (Sorbonne) March 15, 1937.  Degree: Doctor of Chemistry
Production Chemist, Nitrogen S.A. R., Romania 1937 -1938
Technical adviser, Zernesti Cellulose Factory, Romania 1938-1940
Research Assistant, United States Department of Agriculture, Forest Products   Laboratory, Madison, WI 1940-1941
Research Fellow, Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn, New York 1941-1943
Research Chemist, G.L. Cabot, Inc., Boston, MA 1943-1945
Assistant Professor, University of Buffalo, 1945-1951
Professor, University of Buffalo, 1951-1953, 1955
UNESCO Technical Adviser Program India, 1953-1954
Scientific Adviser, Armour Research Foundation, 1956-1957
United States Rubber Co., Naugatuck Chemical Division, 1957-1967

Figure 1: George Goldfinger 1965 Copied from an undocumented print source. Photo Courtesy of NCSU Archives

George Goldfinger grew up in Budapest, Hungary and completed Gymnasium (high school) in 1929.  He earned his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Berlin (1933); the Master of Science from the University of Vienna and Liege (1936) and a Doctorate from the University of Paris (Sorbonne) in 1937.  He began his industrial career in Romania until the Nazi programs of Jewish persecution forced many to flee Europe.  George came to the FRL in Madison, Wisconsin and began a long and distinguished career in diversified fields.  He specialized in the kinetics of polymerization, oxidative degradation of polymers, and the physical properties of nonhomogeneous systems at a time when synthetic polymer fibers were of great interest to the textile industry. (1-3)

Finally, in 1967, Richard Gilbert and Hank Rutherford recruited George to join the faculty to add polish to the request for a Ph.D. program application. (4).  Upon arrival in Raleigh Goldfinger, despite wide polymer knowledge was put to work on a new color matching computer program. (6).  In those days, heavy computing was done through remote terminals interfaced with a joint program set up by the three research universities.  Triangle Universities Computation Center located in the Research Triangle Park, offered students and faculty access to a powerful computer without having to physically leave the campus.  Eight senior-level students worked with Goldfinger to learn the ins and outs of computer-based color prediction for dye recipes.

In 1974, George traveled to France to give presentations on his work in color research.  Using this approach, the color of a fabric was predicted from the selection of dyes and some physical properties of the fiber before performing the first sample dyeing.  Several publications appeared in reviewed journals. (6,7)

George was married to the former Herta Sokal on August 4, 1934.

Selected Publications – of over 40

  1. Thirty five papers prior to arrival at N.C. State
  2. Goldfinger, George, “The Mechanism of Reinforcement. II,” Journal of Polymer Science, 01/1946, Volume 1, Issue 1.
  3. Goldfinger, George, “Polyphenyl,” Journal of Polymer Science, 02/1949, Volume 4, Issue 1.
  4. Goldfinger, George, “The limit of the color gamut of absorbing-scattering substrates,” Journal of Polymer Science: Polymer Letters Edition, 04/1975, Volume 13, Issue 4.
  5. Goldfinger, George; Wiggs, James H., “The effect of internal scattering on the color of fabrics,” Journal of Polymer Science, 12/1978, Volume 22, Issue 12.
  6. Alfrey, Turner; Goldfinger, George, “Copolymerization of Systems Containing Three Components,” The Journal of Chemical Physics, 02/1946, Volume 14, Issue 2.
  7. Goldfinger, George; Lau, K. C.; McGregor, Ralph, “The effect of the distribution of colorant on the color of fibers,” Journal of Polymer Science: Polymer Letters Edition, 07/1973, Volume 11, Issue 7.
  8. Goldfinger, George; Lau, Kwok Ching; McGregor, Ralph, “The effect of the distribution of colorant on the color of fibers,” Journal of Polymer Science, 06/1974, Volume 18, Issue 6.
  9. Goldfinger, George; Paige, Kathy A., “The Color of Fabrics: Effect of Yarn Separation,” Journal of Macromolecular Science Part A:- Chemistry, 03/1977, Volume 11, Issue 3.


  1. USP 2,412,504, “Treating Styrene and other Monomers used in Polymerization,” George Goldfinger (Assigned to Godfrey L. Cabot, Inc.) Dec. 10, 1946


  1. Curriculum Vitae, George Goldfinger, 1960. NCSU Archives.
  2. Curriculum Vitae, short, 1957- 1967? NCSU Archives.
  3. Career overview, Naugatuck Chemical Division, 1957-1967. NCSU Archives.
  4. Mock, Gary, N. A Century of Progress, The Textile Program, North Carolina State University, 1899-1999, North Carolina Textile Foundation, Raleigh, N.C., 2001, pages 120, 127.
  5. News release: “George Goldfinger joins the faculty to direct the program in instrumental color measurement and control for the Department of Textile Chemistry.” November 27, 1967. NCSU Archives.
  6. News Release: “A computer terminal for color matching has been installed, Professor George Goldfinger in charge.” November 10, 1969.  NCSU Archives.
  7. News release: “George Goldfinger will travel to the Institut Technique Roubaisien, Roubaix, France April 22 through 24 to lecture on color research.” February 28, 1974 NC State Information Services. NCSU Archives.
  8. George Goldfinger, Faculty-Staff Files, Office of Information Services, July 20, 1970. NCSU Archives.
  9. Obituary, “George Goldfinger, professor emeritus dies at 72,” Raleigh News & Observer, November 2, 1984. NCSU Archives.