Remembering Fermi

At 3:25 p.m. on December 2, 1942, the Atomic Age began just a few blocks from the Press on the grounds on Stagg Field on campus at the University of Chicago. That day, Enrico Fermi engineered the first controlled nuclear fission chain reaction, ushering in an age of nuclear weaponry and power. The world changed forever that day, and 66 years later, Fermi’s achievements and persona loom large over many institutions at the University and beyond. His legacy is also alive in many of the books the Press publishes in physics and nuclear science. Here are just two:
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On the occasion of the centenary of his birth, University of Chicago physicist and Nobel laureate James W. Cronin edited a tender tribute to Fermi. A collection of essays and newly commissioned reminiscences combined with private material from Fermi’s research notebooks, correspondence, speech outlines, and teaching Fermi Remembered documents the profound and enduring significance of the great scientist’s life and labors. Read an excerpt here.
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The lab that bears his name will finally get the book length-history it deserves when Fermilab: Physics, the Frontier, and Megascience by Lillian Hoddeson, Adrienne W. Kolb, and Catherine Westfall is published later this month. Since 1972, when the laboratory’s original particle accelerator began producing the world’s highest-energy protons for research, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory has stood at the frontier of high-energy physics for nearly forty years. Hoddeson, Kolb, and Westfall offer in Fermilab is the first history of this laboratory and of its powerful accelerators told from the point of view of the people who built and used them for scientific discovery.
For more books on theoretical physics, including several by the man himself, visit Chicago’s catalog.