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Memorial Tributes, Volume 14
Dr. Landau then joined the M. W. Kellogg Company as a process development engineer. In 1943 he was asked to transfer to Kellex Corporation, a Kellogg subsidiary working on the Manhattan Project. As head of the chemical department, he worked with highly skilled engineers, including Harry Rehnberg, to design and run a plant used in the production of very concentrated uranium-235. He returned to Kellogg in 1945 but left in 1946 when he and Harry Rehnberg founded Scientific Design Company. He was executive vice president of Scientific Design from 1946 to 1963, when he became president of Halcon International, Inc., the newly formed holding company for Scientific Design (for engineering and licensing), Catalytic Development Corporation (for manufacturing), and SD Plants (for construction). He became chairman of Halcon in 1975 and continued in that post until Halcon was sold to Texas Eastern Corporation in 1982.
Scientific Design was founded with the objective of improving petrochemical processes, and a major early success was the production of terephthalic acid, the principal raw ingredient in polyester fiber, by bromine-assisted oxidation of paraxylene. The process was sold to Standard Oil Company of Indiana (now Amoco) and today accounts for most of the worldwide production of terephthalic acid. Another major success was an improved process for the production of propylene oxide, which is used in polyurethane foams and rigid polymers. This development was exploited by the formation in 1967 of Oxirane Chemical Company, a joint venture with Atlantic Richfield. Halcon’s interest was purchased in 1980 by Atlantic Richfield, and Oxirane became part of Arco Chemical, which became the world’s leading producer of propylene oxide. Other Halcon technology developments include ethylene oxide, ethylene glycol, maleic anhydride, acetic anhydride, polyisoprenes, and chlorinated solvents. Dr. Landau held numerous patents in his own right, in addition to more than 1,400 held by Halcon and its subsidiaries.
When Halcon was sold to Texas Eastern Corporation in 1982, Dr. Landau began an academic career to study the political and economic environment necessary to encourage technological