Mario Dente

Professor emeritus of Politecnico di Milano


  • Year of nomination: 2010
  • Facility: Department of Chemistry, Materials and Chemical Engineering “Giulio Natta”
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"Professor Mario Dente has an outstanding academic career, having been an international pioneer in the introduction of mathematical modelling for the simulation of chemical processes and having contributed to its development in both educational and scientific practice at Politecnico di Milano.

He was one of the founders of the Degree Programme in Chemical Engineering at Politecnico di Milano, where he held numerous teaching positions; notably, the programme in Principles of Chemical Engineering (which he developed) has become the reference model for many Italian universities. He has published two textbooks, namely Principi di Ingegneria Chimica and Teoria e Sviluppo dei Processi Chimici, which are still in use at our University.

He is the author of over 300 scientific papers in which he has presented numerous applied research topics, which demonstrate his originality and his ability to tackle complex problems by finding solutions for immediate application in engineering. This work has also generated 12 patents, many of which have had important industrial applications on an international scale. For example, the kinetic model for the simulation of 'steam cracking' furnaces for the production of ethylene (Spyro) developed by Mario Dente has been used worldwide since the 1970s for the optimisation and management of large-scale industrial equipment. The American Association of Chemical Engineering still reserves a session entirely dedicated to the industrial users of Spyro at its annual congress, to which Mario Dente is regularly invited. Another significant result was obtained in collaboration with Società Urea Casale, with which he developed a reactor for the synthesis of urea known as the 'Casale-Dente reactor'.

In the more strictly scientific field, Mario Dente has had an international impact in the fields of sensitivity and stability of chemical reactors, modelling of complex kinetic systems and in general in the application of mathematical modelling to chemical processes.

The founder and first Head of the Department of Chemistry, Materials and Chemical Engineering, Mario Dente has been a full professor since 1967 and was dean of Politecnico di Milano from 2003 to 2008."

[extract from the 2010 nomination statement]