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Vincenzo Balzani

Emeritus Professor

Alma Mater Studiorum - Università di Bologna

Curriculum vitae

Vincenzo Balzani, member of the Accademia dei Lincei, is emeritus professor of Chemistry at the University of Bologna. He is one of the most cited chemists, with more than 63000 citations and h-index 119. For his scientific activity he received several acknowledgements, including degrees "Honoris Causa" at the Universities of Fribourg (CH) and Shanghai (China), awards from the Italian, British, German and French chemical societies, and the Italgas Prize for Research and Innovation. In 2013 he was the recipient of the Nature Award for Mentoring in Science. Some recent awards: Archiginnasio d’oro, Città di Bologna, 2016; Gand Prix de la Maison de la Chimie (France) 2016;  Guglielmo Marconi Award for Creativity, Fondazione Marconi, 2017; Leonardo da Vinci Award, European Academy of Sciences, 2017; Turro Award, Inter-American Photochemical Society, 2018; Cavaliere di Gran Croce della Repubblica Italiana per meriti scientifici, 2019; Primo Levi Award, Gesellschaft Deutscher Chemiker and Società Chimica Italiana, 2019.

In the early years of his career he laid the foundations for the study of photochemical reactions of coordination compounds, with a series of works that have been a source of inspiration for scientists from many countries. Since the seventies he has been one of the first researchers to propose the conversion of solar energy into chemical energy through the photo-sensitized splitting of water into hydrogen and oxygen. He explored in detail the properties of the Ruthenium-tris-dipyridine complex, one of the most important molecules of modern chemistry, demonstrating that it responds to light pulses by emitting electrons and vice versa and that, therefore, it can be used in many chemical processes of application importance (for example, as a photocatalyst and as a sensor). Since the eighties he has designed and manufactured molecular devices and machines capable of performing a wide variety of functions. The high reputation of its innovative research is evidenced by over 300 invitations to present conferences at scientific congresses and at universities around the world.

He is the author of several books, some of which have been and/or are currently adopted as textbooks in several universities worldwide, including China and Japan.

Photochemistry of Coordination Compounds, Academic Press, London, 1970 (with V. Carassiti).

Supramolecular Photochemistry, Horwood, Chichester, 1991 (with F. Scandola).

Molecular Devices and Machines. A Journey into the Nano World", Wiley-VCH, Weinheim, 2003 (with A. Credi and M. Venturi), translated in Chinese and Japanese.

Molecular Devices and Machines. Concepts and Perspectives for the Nanoworld, VCH-Wiley, Weinheim, 2008 (with A. Credi and M. Venturi), translated in Chinese.

Energy for a Sustainable World – From the Oil Age to a Sun-Powered Future, Wiley-VCH, 2011 (with N. Armaroli), translated in Chinese.

Photochemistry and Photophysics: Concepts, Research, Applications, Wiley-VCH, 2014 (with P. Ceroni and A. Juris), translated in Chinese.

Reading and Writing the Book of Nature, Royal Society of Chemistry, 2015 (with M. Venturi).

For many years Vincenzo Balzani has combined scientific research with an intense dissemination activity on the relationship between science and society and between science and peace, with particular reference to energy and resource issues. He is convinced that scientists have a great responsibility that derives from their knowledge and therefore it is their duty to actively contribute to solving the problems of humanity, particularly those connected to the current energy-climate crisis. Every year he holds dozens of seminars in primary or secondary schools to illustrate to the students the problems that the use of fossil fuels and the throwaway civilization have created, the current ecological and social unsustainability that derives from the growing inequalities and the need of a rapid transitions from the use of fossil fuels to that of renewable energies, from the linear economy to the circular economy, and from consumerism to sobriety.  On these themes, he is co-author of books much appreciated by students and teachers of secondary schools: Chemistry (with M. Venturi) 2000; Energy today and tomorrow: Perspectives, challenges, hopes (with N. Armaroli) 2004; Energy for the spaceship Earth (with N. Armaroli), which in 2007 won the Galileo award for scientific dissemination; Chemistry! Reading and writing the book of nature (with M. Venturi) 2012; Energy, resources, environment (with m. Venturi) 2014; The molecular machines (with A. Credi), finalist in the Scientific dissemination award 2018. 

In 2009 he started the Science and Society interdisciplinary course at the University of Bologna with the aim of bridging the gap between University and City and for some time has been hoping for the strengthening of similar initiatives for the cultural growth of the Metropolitan City. In 2014 he founded the energiaperlitalia group, formed by 22 professors and researchers of the University and of the most important research centers of Bologna, with the aim of offering the Government and local politicians guidelines so that the energy.

Click here to see the extended curriculum vitae and the complete list of publications of Vincenzo Balzani (PDF format).