Sergio Carrà

Professor emeritus of Politecnico di Milano


  • Year of nomination: 2005
  • Facility: Department of Chemistry, Materials and Chemical Engineering “Giulio Natta”
  • E-mail:

"A scientist gifted with great eclecticism and capacity for synthesis, Sergio Carrà has tackled numerous topics in the fields of Physical Chemistry, Industrial Chemistry and Chemical Engineering in his teaching and research. Since the early 1950s, he has contributed to the development of modern methods of scientific research, coupling mathematical modelling with laboratory experimentation, often proceeding on up to the application of the results on an industrial scale.

In his didactic capacity, Sergio Carrà held various teaching positions in both the Faculty of Industrial Chemistry and the Faculty of Engineering, producing various textbooks which, due to their modernity, still act as undisputed points of reference today. His total output of 8 books also includes science education books on exciting topics such as self-organised systems or the role of symmetries in the behaviour of molecules and materials.

In his research activity, Sergio Carrà has always been guided by an insatiable curiosity and sustained by a great passion for study. Always capable of stimulating the interests of young people by bringing them closer to scientific research activity, he has dealt with very different topics, including thermodynamics, catalysis and chemical kinetics, separation processes and reactor engineering, molecular physical chemistry and the use of related tools to study the synthesis and properties of materials. In every sector Sergio Carrà has left a clear impression, as documented by his over 250 scientific publications, and by the numerous young people he has initiated into scientific research in industry or in academia.

Sergio Carrà received numerous national and international awards during his career, such as the Feltrinelli Prize in 1991 and the ‘Honoris Causa’ Doctorate in Physics awarded to him by the Blaise Pascal University of Clermont-Ferrand (France) in 2001. He has also contributed significantly to the organisation of research in Italy, for example through his work over a 10-year period as co-ordinator of the Finalised Projects of the National Research Council. He is currently Co-ordinator of the Specialisation Course in Hydrocarbon Science at the Scuola Normale in Pisa and is a very active member of the Accademia dei Lincei, where he held the position of Director of the Beniamino Segre Interdisciplinary Centre."

[extract from the 2005 nomination statement]