Enrico Fermi

From WikiCU
Jump to: navigation, search
See also Wikipedia's article about "Enrico Fermi".

Enrico Fermi was an Italian physicist famous for his work on the Manhattan Project, among other things. When Fermi emigrated to the U.S. in early January 1939, he had already won the Nobel Prize and was offered chairs at five different universities - and chose Columbia. By January 25, he was conducting the first nuclear fission experiment in the U.S. - in Pupin Hall.

Fermi resided at the King's Crown Hotel (420 West 116th Street, now a law school dorm that also houses Deutsches Haus) where he happened to encounter fellow resident and scientist Leó Szilárd in the lobby.[1] Their encounter led to "one of the more colorful - and contentious - partnerships in the history of science" and turned out to be of fundamental importance for the success of the Manhattan Project.[2]

In addition to his Nobel, Columbia also awarded Fermi a Barnard Medal for Meritorious Service to Science in 1950.

Fermi later moved on to the University of Chicago, which, as it does with the Core Curriculum, continues to lay almost exclusive claim to him to this day.


  1. Peace and Security: The Next Generation, edited by George A. Lopez & Nancy J. Myers, (c) 1997 Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, ISBN 0-8476-8594-2, page 13
  2. William Lanouette, The Odd Couple and the Bomb in: The Science of War: Nuclear History, Scientific American - Exclusive Online Issues