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The Shy Angel who missed the Nobel Prize

corresponding

MARCO FONTANI1*, MARY V. ORNA2
*Corresponding author
1. University of Florence, Department of Chemistry “Hugo Schiff”, via della Lastruccia 13, Sesto F.no Firenze, 50019, Italy
2. College of New Rochelle, New Rochelle, NY, USA

Abstract

Angelo (Angel, in English) Angeli (1864-1931) was one of the greatest organic chemists that Italy ever had. It is widely held – in retrospect – that the Austrian-born-Italian chemist should have been selected for the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. He was nominated several times, but was never awarded the prize.


EARLY LIFE

The University of Florence had on its faculty two supreme chemists: the German Hugo Schiff (1834-1915), and Angelo Angeli, who was born in Tarcento (the former Austro-Hungarian Empire) on August 20th 1864. Neither Schiff nor Angeli was able to cultivate a scientific “nursery” and neither of them created a “school” in the modern sense of the term. Thus, it is difficult to imagine that a series of experiments performed almost a century ago, which today might appear as astonishingly simple as carefully opening an egg, would shake the very foundations of the discipline and open the door to the era of modern organic-chemistry.
Angeli developed a great passion for chemistry early in life. While still a child, he started to perform experiment