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These awards have been selected for the year 2003 because of the occurrence of two anniversaries, which are particularly important to the scientific world of Ferrara:
• the first anniversary concerns the centenary of the birth of Nobel Prize for Chemistry, Prof. Giulio Natta. He carried out his main research in Ferrara in the Montecatini Industrial laboratories, which are now the property of Basell Polyolefines. Prof. Natta, the only Italian scientist to receive the Nobel Prize for Chemistry, in 1963, with his knowledge and experimentation discovered Polypropilene. This discovery opened a new era in the field of plastic products and generated in Italy and abroad a new industrial sector, which is still a success now.
• The second anniversary refers to the 500 years from when the Degree in Ecclesiastical Law was given to Nicolaus Copernicus from the University of Ferrara, on May 31st, 1503. Copernicus was well known for his theories that positioned the Sun and Earth in their real places, negating the illusion that Mankind was right in the middle of the Universe.
These two anniversaries, together with the support of many institutions and some important companies from Ferrara, were a sort of primer for the constitution of the Committee, known as “Natta Copernico”, that has stimulated and promoted scientific research and technological innovation at different levels.
The Committee “Natta Copernico” promotes the scientific Awards that are being given today in this beautiful Palace. In this way, we believe that the interest of our City in promoting knowledge is once again being assessed.

I am talking about the following Awards:
• The Giulio Natta Prize is given to a senior scientist whose discoveries have contributed to an enhancement in the quality of life in the field of Chemistry.
• The Prize “Nicolò Copernico-Fondazione Carife” for Biomedicine Sciences is a seed grant given to a Junior Researcher to carry out innovative research in the field of Lymphomas/leukemias associates with human retroviruses at the University of Ferrara.
• The Prize “Nicolò Copernico-Fondazione Carife” for Physics is given to a scientist under 40 years of age, the author of an important discovery in an Italian Laboratory. This year the award is dedicated to physics nanotechnologies.
I hope that these awards can contribute to stimulating and renewing an interest in scientific research in our young scientists, students and all the population.
Our ancestors' interest and engagement in science and technological development is responsible for the long life expectancy and the high standard of living available to 20% of the world's population. On the other hand, present-day technology cannot guarantee the sustainability of these achievements, because of the limited resources of our planet. The extension of these benefits to the remaining 80% of the population, now, is out of the question. It appears that the applied economical model does not take into account physical limitations. To prevent a fall in the standard of living and life expectancy and extend these benefits to the whole of the world's population, I am sure we must accept important changes in our behaviour and we must develop scientific research and consequently, create new technology able to fit our desire to the planet's resources.

The Promoting Committee "Giulio Natta e Nicolò Copernico" Awards acknowledgements:
Presidenza del Consiglio dei Ministri, Regione Emilia Romagna, Assemblea Legislativa Regione Emilia-Romagna, Provincia di Ferrara, Comune di Ferrara, Basell Poliolefine Italia SPA, LyondelBasell, Borealis Group, Area SPA, Clara SPA, Geotech Ambiente Ferrara, IPT S.r.l., Co.pro.b, artefatta, Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Cento, Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Ferrara, Lions Club Portomaggiore-San Giorgio, Banca Prossima Gruppo Intesa Sanpaolo, Università degli Studi di Ferrara, Unindustria Ferrara, Camera di Commercio di Ferrara, Circolo Negozianti di Ferrara, Accademia dei Georgofili, Il Resto del Carlino, Telestense - Rete Alfa, Tele Ferrara Live.

A particular thank to the Giuseppe e Franca Natta's families