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?Enrico Fermi was an Italian-American physicist and Nobel laureate, known for
achieving the first controlled nuclear reaction (Encarta 98).?
Enrico was born on Sep. 29, 1901 in Rome, Italy. Formally educated at the
University of Pisa, Enrico was also a student of many leading theoretical physics centers.
He soon became a professor of theoretical physics at the University of Rome. There he
developed many new ways of explaining the behavior of electrons (Encarta 98). Some
examples would be the development of the theory; beta decay. The one theory attributed
towards him that was renowned in the world of physics and put him on the map as one
might say was; the investigation of the production of artificial radioactivity by
bombarding elements with neutrons(Encarta 98). For this he was later awarded the 1938
Nobel Prize in physics.
Due to the fact that his wife was Jewish he decided not to return to fascist Italy,
in fact they immigrated to the US. While in the US he first started out as a professor at
Columbia University. He then mover his teaching career to the University of Chicago
where he was able to create the first controlled nuclear fission chain reaction which took
place in Dec. 1942 (Encarta 98). For the remainder of the war he worked at Los Alamos,
New Mexico on the A-bomb. He was then later openly opposed to the hydrogen bomb
and debated it on ethical grounds (Encarta 98).
He remained at the University of Chicago attracting students from all over the
world to study under him. Although his contributions to the realm of physics are
immeasurable they where also the cause of his death. Enrico Fermi had an untimely death
due to Cancer on Nov. 28, 1954 in Chicago (Encarta 98). He also had an award that
honors his memory which is given to an individual who is considered to have the greatest
contribution to the development or use of atomic energy.
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