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Heroes of Space: Enrico Fermi

28 Apr 2018, 20:00 UTC
Heroes of Space: Enrico Fermi
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Fermi continued to work on his theories surrounding nuclear physics until his final day. Image Credit: NASA
Born in Italy in 1901, Enrico Fermi’s passion for physics was reportedly the result of a tragedy in his younger days. When he was just 14 his older brother died and his parents encouraged the young Fermi to dedicate more time to his education, to console him in his grief. Picking up a variety of physics, mathematics and astronomy books, the inquisitive teen quickly became enthralled by the infinite possibilities of the world of physics.
Fermi won a scholarship to the prestigious Scuola Normale Superiore University in Pisa with an entry essay so impressive it would have been commendable for a doctorate degree. Fermi was even asked by his teachers to organise his own seminars on quantum physics. Even while studying, Fermi’s exceptional skills meant he was largely self taught, and he graduated with honours in 1922. He went on to win a Rockefeller Fellowship and studied under renowned physicist Max Born in Germany where he also met Albert Einstein. Between 1926 and 1927 Fermi and English physicist Paul Dirac developed new methods known as Fermi-Dirac statistics, which were concerned with subatomic particles ...

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