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Short history of the Department and its founder, Prof. Giacomo Ciamician

Short history of the Chemistry Department "G. Ciamician"

The Department, born January the 1st, 1987, originated from the Institute of Chemistry, which, in turn, derived from the oldest Italian Chair of Chemistry, established in Bologna by Ferdinando Marsili in the year 1737. The first to occupy the chair was Jacopo Bartolomeo Beccari

The Department is located via Francesco Selmi 2, in the University area inside the old city. The building was constructed in the Twenties of the past century on the design of Edoardo Collamarini (1863-1928), a renowned architect, who took into account the technical requirements indicated by Giacomo Ciamician (1857-1922).

The exterior is characterized by the exceptional care of the architectonic parameters, with mosaics on the façade and a wrought-iron gate. Internally is worth to mention the monumental Aula Magna (1925) and the beautiful Art Deco library, based on Collamarini project, all walnut with briar-root inlays.


Giacomo Ciamician

Giacomo Luigi Ciamician (1857 - 1922) was born in Trieste, then part of Austria. He graduated at the University of Vienna, Austria, and received his PhD from the University of Giessen (Germany) in 1880. He then moved to Rome where he was assistant of Prof. Cannizzaro for 7 years. In 1887 Ciamican became Professor of Chemistry in the University of Padua. Two years later, il 1889, he moved for the last time to University of Bologna. He died in the same city in 1922.

Ciamician research covered a very broad range of fields, but he gave his most important contribution to the development of photochemistry. His contribution was so influential that today Ciamician is considered one of the founders of this branch of chemistry and a pioneer of solar energy conversion and "green chemistry".

From 1900 to 1921 Ciamician published a great number of papers on photochemistry, with his friend and collaborator Paul Silber. However, his major celebrity is due to a speech at the "VIII International Congress of Applied Chemistry", New York, September 1912. In his talk "The photochemistry of the future", published in 4 languages, Ciamician was strikingly farsighted in approaching the world energetic problems. He suggested to replace fossil energy with that inexhaustible of the sun.

Argomenti correlati

Image Gallery
Old and recent pictures of the Department [in italian]
History - Ciamician courses 1889-1921
Extended version of "Gli appunti degli allievi" in section "Allegati"
UniBo Historic Archive
Old images of the Department