Herman Pines (1902-1996), an American chemist who jointly discovered the catalytic alkylation and isomerization of hydrocarbons in 1938 with Vladimir Ipatieff. This discovery proved to be a major breakthrough in the production of gasoline. The most important application is the synthesis of isooctane from n-butene and isobutane. Isooctane improves the quality of gasoline and airplane fuel; it played a decisive role in the victory of the Royal Air Force during the Battle of Britain in 1941. The catalysis of converting paraffins to isoparaffins is one of the cornerstones of the petroleum industry.