Matteo Paolieri was born in Italy, in 1996. He obtained his B.Sc. in Chemistry at the University of Florence in 2019, with a thesis in Analytical Chemistry: "Development of a nanostructured electrochemical sensor for vitamin C detection in food for infants and young children". He is also an independent scholar in History of Chemistry and a biography enthusiast.
He is the author of “Ferdinand Münz: EDTA and 40 Years of Inventions” (Bulletin for the History of Chemistry, ACS, 2017) concerning the life and achievements of the chemist who first synthesized EDTA in 1935, Dr. Ferdinand Münz (1888-1969). It is the first biographical article in literature about him. He has been virtually unknown to the history of science because of persecution for his Jewish origins and his tragic personal issues. You can read more about my journey here.
Matteo is also a member of the ACS - History of Chemistry Division, and a journalist specialized in Chemistry and History of Science for the popular Italian blog Italia Unita per la Scienza.
|13-10-2018||DE||Taunus Zeitung||Dr. Ferdinand Münz: Der Pionier, den die Welt vergaß|
|27-02-2018||DE||Taunus Zeitung||Italienischer Student begibt sich auf der Spur von Dr. Ferdinand Münz|
|28-01-2018||EN||History News Network (G.W. University)||The Austrian Scientist Time Forgot Because He Was a Jew|
|09-12-2017||IT||Italia Unita per la Scienza||Ferdinand Münz|
The memory of Dr. Ferdinand Münz must not disappear.
I started my journey on this research back in July 2016, thanks also to Dr. Marco Fontani from the University of Florence, who encouraged me to continue this research. During that period I was studying the EDTA, a molecule that always fascinated me. I was outraged by the fact that the name and biography of the inventor of one of the most important compounds in analytical chemistry didn't exist. So I searched the web, trying to find out who first synthesized EDTA. Only one result appeared, a German chemist's name based on his US patent from 1935: Dr. Ferdinand Münz.
I contacted many people all around the Germany and read many sources. To this date, I would like to say many thank-you's, especially to the association Yad Vashem for the numerous sources it provided me about Münz's internments. However, an article came out on the ACS Bulletin for the History of Chemistry in December 2017. It is possible to read an op-ed I wrote for the History News Network blog (here), where I had stated:
EDTA is one of the most important compounds in analytical chemistry and it is used in everyday life in products such as shampoos, bactericides, mercury poisoning treatments, food preservatives, and tissues dyeing. Yet Dr. Münz has been virtually unknown to the history of science because of persecution for his Jewish origins. [...] Dr. Münz was working during the darkest years of the 20th century, which contributed enormously to his eclipse as a man of science. Unfortunately, in Germany during those years, a Jew could not carry out research freely and many of his publications and patents appeared in literature without his name.
On January 2018 I met David Schahinian, a talented journalist who started helping me on my research, trying to find out more about Dr. Münz's life.
We found many information, a close relative of Dr. Münz and also photos which have never been released. We are confident that we may accomplish this result: writing a full biography of this scientist that can't be forgotten due to his amazing world-revolutionizing discovery. Everyone knows that the inventor of the electric cell was Alessandro Volta, and we think that the EDTA isn't a less important invention.
Very few people know Dr. Münz story, and I think it is a necessity to let people know about him in order not to lose the memory of such a great scientist and man, who invented a chemical that revolutionized our modern world. "Nazis wanted to destroy me" - said Münz to a family friend - "and now I am here laying in the garden, watching the sun." I think that Nazis did a good job trying to delete his name from the History, but not a perfect one.
Now he can get the credit he deserves, but the journey still goes on.