Giuseppe Bruzzaniti

“This biography examines the life and career of the Italian physicist Enrico Fermi. It is also the story of the thirty years that transformed physics and forever changed our understanding of matter and the universe. During this time period, nuclear physics and elementary particle physics came into existence, nuclear fission was discovered, the Manhattan Project was developed, the atomic bombs were dropped, and the era of “big science” began. Without first having an understanding of Fermi, which would not be possible, it would be impossible to capture the full essence of this revolutionary period. Without him, it would not have been possible.
Beginning with the publication of his first paper in 1921 and continuing until his death in 1954, Enrico Fermi: The Obedient Genius makes an effort to shed light on all aspects of Fermi’s life, including his work, motivation, influences, achievements, and personal thoughts. The book covers Fermi’s life from the time his first paper was published until his death. During this time, Fermi demonstrated that he was indeed following in the footsteps of Galileo by excelling in his work both theoretically and experimentally. He did this by increasing our understanding of the Pauli exclusion principle, winning the Nobel Prize for his discovery of the fundamental properties of slow neutrons, developing the theory of beta decay, building the first nuclear reactor, and playing a central role in the development of the atomic bomb. All of these accomplishments occurred during this time period. This book details the major developments in physics and provides the necessary background material to fully appreciate the dramatic changes that were taking place. These developments are interwoven with the fascinating story that is told throughout the book.
Appendices that provide a timeline of Fermi’s life, several primary source documents from the time period, and an extensive bibliography are also included in this work. Anyone curious about Fermi’s work or the scientific developments that led to the physics revolution in the first half of the twentieth century will benefit from reading this book.”