Karl Waldemar Ziegler
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Ziegler, Karl Waldemar
Born Nov. 26, 1898, in Helsa, near Kassel; died Aug. 11, 1973, in Mülheim an der Ruhr. German chemist (Federal Republic of Germany).
Ziegler graduated from the University of Marburg in 1920 and taught there from 1923 to 1926. From 1928 to 1936 he was a professor at the University of Heidelberg. From 1936 to 1943 he was director of the chemistry institute at the university in Halle. Between 1943 and 1969 he was director of the Institute for Coal Research in Mülheim; at the same time, beginning in 1947, he was head of a department at the Technische Hochschule in Aachen.
Ziegler’s primary work was in organic chemistry and the chemistry of macromolecular compounds. In 1953, Ziegler discovered a catalyst based on triethylaluminum and titanium halides, with which at low temperatures and pressures he achieved for the first time the polymerization of ethylene into linear polyethylene. This discovery led to the creation of a number of mixed catalysts (the Ziegler and Natta catalysts) for the synthesis of stereoregular polymers. Ziegler also developed industrial methods of producing butadiene, higher α-olefins, higher alcohols, and carboxylic acids.
Ziegler was awarded a Nobel Prize in 1963, with G. Natta.