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Born Feb. 26, 1903, in Imperia. Italian organic chemist.
Natta graduated from the Milan Polytechnical Institute in 1924. He was an instructor at the institute from 1925 and was appointed a professor of general chemistry in 1927. From 1933 to 1935 he served as director of the Institute of General Chemistry at the University of Pavia, and from 1935 to 1937 as dean of the physical chemistry department at the University of Rome. In 1938 he became director of the department of industrial chemistry at the Milan Polytechnical Institute.
Natta’s first scientific works investigated the structure-of solid bodies, including catalysts and certain organic polymers. In 1938 he began to research the production of synthetic rubber and was the first to separate butadiene from 1-butene. In 1954 he discovered stereospecific polymerization. His research resulted in the successful preparation of isotactic polypropylene at an industrial plant in 1957. Other studies carried out by Natta led to the creation of new types of elastomers. Natta’s chief contribution to polymer chemistry is the discovery of stereoregular polymers, a new class of macromolecule with an ordered structure.
Natta shared a Nobel Prize in 1963 with the German chemist K. Ziegler. A foreign member of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR since 1966, Natta was awarded the M. V. Lomonosov Gold Medal in 1970.