Tuesday, August 17, 2010
US naturalized citizen of the day- Enrico Fermi
Enrico Fermi was born in Rome on 29th September, 1901. In 1926, Fermi discovered the statistical laws, nowadays known as the «Fermi statistics», governing the particles subject to Pauli's exclusion principle (now referred to as «fermions», in contrast with «bosons» which obey the Bose-Einstein statistics).
In 1938, Fermi was without doubt the greatest expert on neutrons, and he continued his work on this topic on his arrival in the United States, where he was soon appointed Professor of Physics at Columbia University, N.Y. (1939-1942).
Upon the discovery of fission, by Hahn and Strassmann early in 1939, he immediately saw the possibility of emission of secondary neutrons and of a chain reaction. He proceeded to work with tremendous enthusiasm, and directed a classical series of experiments which ultimately led to the atomic pile and the first controlled nuclear chain reaction. This took place in Chicago on December 2, 1942 - on a squash court situated beneath Chicago's stadium. He subsequently played an important part in solving the problems connected with the development of the first atomic bomb (He was one of the leaders of the team of physicists on the Manhattan Project for the development of nuclear energy and the atomic bomb.)
In 1944, Fermi became American citizen, and at the end of the war (1946)