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Giulio Natta

Giulio NattaBorn: 26-Feb-1903
Birthplace: Imperia, Italy
Died: 2-May-1979
Location of death: Bergamo, Lombardy, Italy
Cause of death: unspecified
Remains: Buried, Bergamo Cemetery, Bergamo, Lombardy, Italy

Gender: Male
Religion: Roman Catholic
Race or Ethnicity: White
Occupation: Chemist

Nationality: Italy
Executive summary: Ziegler-Natta catalysts for polymerization

Italian chemist Giulio Natta's career spanned five decades, and he worked closely with Italian industrial concerns to study high polymers and develop several new processes and products. In 1954 he used a catalyst discovered by Karl Ziegler to introduce an easy, controlled chemical process to produce polymerization with minimal pressure and at room temperature, allowing the affordable manufacture of polyethylenes, polypropylenes, and other industrial plastics. For their Ziegler–Natta catalyst, the two scientists shared the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1963. Natta remains the only Italian to win a Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

From childhood he always preferred performing chemistry experiments in his family's basement over his school studies, and from adolescence his favorite book was Dante's Divine Comedy. A key promotion that set the stage for Natta's later success came in 1938, when he was named professor and chair of industrial chemistry at his alma mater, Milan Polytechnic, replacing Mario Giacomo Levi, who was fired for being Jewish, under Italy's fascist laws.

    University: Mathematics, University of Genoa (attended 1919-21)
    University: BS Chemical Engineering, Milan Polytechnic, Milan, Italy (1924)
    Teacher: Chemical Engineering, Milan Polytechnic, Milan, Italy (1927-33)
    Professor: Chemistry, University of Pavia (1933-35)
    Professor: Physical Chemistry, University of Rome (1935-36)
    Professor: Industrial Chemistry, University of Turin (1936-38)
    Professor: Industrial Chemistry, Milan Polytechnic, Milan, Italy (1938-68)

    Nobel Prize for Chemistry 1963 (with Karl Ziegler)
    Sir William Perkin Medal 1963
    Antoine Lavoisier Medal 1963
    Mikhail Lomonosov Gold Medal 1969
    John Scott Medal 1971
    Accademia dei Lincei 1955
    New York Academy of Sciences Foreign Member, 1958
    Austrian Chemical Society Foreign Member, 1960
    French Academy of Sciences Foreign Member, 1964
    International Academy of Astronautics 1965
    Royal Society of Chemistry Foreign Member, 1966
    Russian Academy of Sciences Foreign Member, 1966
    Rotary International
    Society of Plastics Engineers

Author of books:
Trends in the Organic Chemical Industry (1963, non-fiction; with Italo Pasquon)
Stereochemistry:The Molecule in Three Dimensions (1968, non-fiction)


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