Did you know that Enrico Fermi, the father of the atomic bomb, taught at the University of Florence? This is just one interesting aspect of the great physicist’s biography that you’ll learn if you read the latest by Deirdre Pirro in her column in The Florentine.
The son of a railway employee, Fermi was born in Rome on September 29, 1901. As a teenager, he became fascinated by mathematics, having bought two books in Latin on the subject at a street stall. Guided in his studies by an engineer friend of his father’s who recognised the boy’s extraordinary intelligence, Fermi won a place at the prestigious Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa and graduated in physics from there in 1922. For the next two years, he taught at the University of Florence and then became professor of theoretical physics in Rome. For his research there, focused on neutron behaviour, he won the Nobel Prize in physics in 1938. Concerned because the Fascists had recently passed anti-Semitic laws in Italy, after accepting his award in Sweden, Fermi, together with with his Jewish wife and two children, escaped to the United States.
Read Enrico Fermi Biography on The Florentine’s website.