Enrico Fermi

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Enrico Fermi

Youngest of three children, Enrico Fermi was born September 29, 1901 in Rome, Italy. He was the son of Alberto Fermi and Ida de Gattis. His father was a railroad official and mother an elementary school teacher. He had an older sister, Maria, born in 1899, and an older brother, Giulio, born in 1900 [1]. He married Laura Copon on July 18, 1928 and had one daughter, Nella, born January 31, 1931, and one son, Giulio, born February 16, 1936 [1].
Enrico Fermi started school at the age of six, showing promising talents with his academics, especially excelling in mathematics. By age ten he left elementary school puzzling out how the equation x2 + y2 = r2 represented a circle [1]. He continued to excel in his education preparing for entrance into college, ultimately winning a scholarship and gaining entrance into the Scuola Normale Superiore of Pisa in 1918. By 1922, after just four years of school, he earned his doctoral degree in physics from the University of Pisa [2]. After receiving his degree, he studied under Max Born in Germany at the University of Göttingen in 1923, and also under Paul Ehrenfest in the Netherlands at the State University of Leiden in 1924 [1]. This was made possible by receiving fellowships from the Italian Ministry of Public Instruction and Rockefeller Foundation. He returned to Italy to work as a lecturer of Mathematical Physics and Mechanics at the University of Florence from 1924 to 1926. “In 1926, Fermi discovered the statistical laws, now known as Fermi Statistics, governing the particles subject to Pauli 's exclusion principle, also known as, fermions” [1]. From there, Fermi became a Professor of Theoretical and Experimental Physics at the University of Rome in 1927 [4]. While in Rome, he evolved the ß-decay theory in 1934 - a statistical physics theory, to include the neutrino presumed to be massless and chargeless. This theory heavily involves statistics because the general shapes of the energy and momentum



Cited: 1.) J J O 'Connor and E F Robertson, Enrico Fermi, available at: http://www-groups.dcs.st-and.ac.uk/history/Biographies/Fermi.html 2.) Nobel Lectures, Physics 1922-1941, Elsevier Publishing Company, Amsterdam, 1965, available at: http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/1938/fermi-bio.html 3.) Encyclopædia Britannica Online, s. v. "Enrico Fermi", accessed September 26, 2012, available at: http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/204747/Enrico-Fermi/278563/American-career. 4.) http://www.fnal.gov/pub/about/whatis/enricofermi.html 5.) R Nave, Fermi Theory of Beta Decay, available at: http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/quantum/fermi2.html 6.) "The Nobel Prize in Physics 1938". Nobelprize.org. 26 Sep 2012 http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/1938/ 7.) Karl Pearson, available at: http://www.uvm.edu/~rsingle/stats/Pearson.html 8.)  J J O 'Connor and E F Robertson, Richard Alexander Robb, http://www-history.mcs.st-and.ac.uk/Biographies/Robb.html

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