Massimo Simonetta


February 26, 1920–January 6, 1986.

He received degrees in industrial chemistry (1943), chemical engineering (1946) and physics (1949) from the University of Milan and the Polytechnical Institute of Milan.

He was a member of many academies and scientific societies, both in Italy and abroad. He was a centenary lecturer of the Royal Society of Chemistry in 1983 and gave lectures in various countries, the last ones in Canada and Brazil in 1985.

During 1950-1951 and 1958 he was a visiting scholar at the California Institute of Technology and worked with Linus Pauling . It was on these visits that he developed his deep interest in the theory of chemical bonding and in the relation between structure and chemical reactivity. Later on he was visiting professor at Sao Paulo (1973), at Brasenose College, at Oxford (1976) and at the University of California at Berkeley (1977).

Important Contributions:

Simonettas scientific investigations covered many aspects of physical and theoretical chemistry. He was particularly fascinated by the molecular and electronic structure of organic molecules, the theoretical and experimental evaluation of electronic densities in organic crystals, the reactivity of molecules on metal surfaces and the development of ab initio valence bond theory and construction of spin eigenfunctions.

Simonetta has had a profound and lasting influence on physical and theoretical chemistry in Italy and has contributed substantially to the spreading of physico-chemical ideas throughout the scientific world.

An obituary can be found at