Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Enrico Fermi (1901–54) was a physicist, born in Rome, Italy, most noted for his work on the development of the first nuclear reactor, and for his contributions to the development of quantum theory, nuclear and particle physics, and statistical mechanics.
Fermi was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1938 for his work on induced radioactivity and is today regarded as one of the top scientists of the 20th century. Fermium, a synthetic element created in 1952 is named after him.
After Fermi received the Nobel Prize in Stockholm, he snd his family immigrated to New York. This was mainly because of the anti-Semitic laws promulgated by the fascist regime of Benito Mussolini which threatened his wife, who was Jewish. The new laws also put most of Fermi's research assistants out of work. Soon after his arrival in New York, Fermi began working at Columbia University.