History of the Department

The Department of Industrial Chemistry "Toso Montanari" (CHIMIND) stands on the first slopes of the Bolognese hills, a few steps from the historic center.

It was born from the merger of the departments of physical and inorganic chemistry, industrial and materials chemistry and organic chemistry, all belonging to the Faculty of Industrial Chemistry, in the autumn of 2012.

The Faculty of Industrial Chemistry of the University of Bologna was inaugurated on January 14, 1922 with the name of "Higher School of Industrial Chemistry". This school was sponsored by a promoting committee established in 1916, on the proposal of Prof. Ing. Attilio Muggia, president of the Society of Engineers.

The patrimony of the school was made up of the goods coming from the legacy of Luciano Toso Montanari (Livorno 1848 - Barcelona 1920), an engineer and industrial entrepreneur who lived in Bologna.

The need to establish the School of Industrial Chemistry was strongly felt to emancipate Italy from the condition of strong dependence from abroad, in terms of industrial products, as well as to encourage the development of an Italian chemical industry capable of meeting the national needs and competitive internationally.

The situation of inferiority in which the Italian chemical industry was facing, compared to the foreign one and in particular to the German one, became evident at the time of the outbreak of the First World War, when numerous imports related to products of various types of industries were stopped: glass, pharmaceutical, dyes, metallurgical, cements, fertilizers, paper, agricultural, oenological, industries also existing in Italy, but insufficiently developed with respect to their potential. It was hoped, therefore, that from the Higher School of Industrial Chemistry a group of expert chemists would come out and be able to carry out practical activities in the industries. In fact, there was always a lack of close collaboration between science and industry.

Particular importance was given to the laboratory activity and to the possibility of maintaining contacts between school and industries, so that the latter enjoyed a continuous exchange of increasingly specialized technicians. A particular field of research, in direct competition with Germany, was related to the fermenting technique, of which a special teaching was instituted.

The choice of Bologna as the location of the Higher School of Industrial Chemistry was determined by the fact that the city was located in the center of Emilia, where the needs for scientific development applied to industry and agriculture were greater and the academic context seemed to promise good results.