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Enrico Fermi: His Work and Legacy [Hardcover]

By Carlo Bernardini (Editor) & Luisa Bonolis (Editor)
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Item description for Enrico Fermi: His Work and Legacy by Carlo Bernardini & Luisa Bonolis...

Enrico Fermi's scientific work, noted for its originality and breadth, has created lasting consequences throughout modern science. Written by close colleagues as well as scientists whose fields were profoundly influenced by Fermi, the papers collected here constitute a tribute to him and his scientific legacy. They were commissioned on the occasion of his 100th birthday by the Italian Physical Society and confirm that Fermi was a rare combination of theorist, experimentalist, teacher, and inspiring colleague. The book is organized into three parts: three biographical overviews by close colleagues, replete with personal insights; fourteen analyses of Fermi's impact by specialists in their fields, spanning physics, chemistry, mathematics, and engineering; and a year-by-year chronology of Fermi's scientific endeavors. Written for a general scientific audience, "Enrico Fermi: His Work and Legacy" offers a highly readable source on the life of one of the 20th century's most distinguished scientists and a must for everybody interested in the history of modern science.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   410
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.75" Width: 6.75" Height: 9.5"
Weight:   2.05 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Aug 17, 2004
Publisher   Springer
ISBN  3540221417  
ISBN13  9783540221418  

Availability  0 units.

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1Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > General
2Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > Professionals & Academics > Scientists
3Books > Subjects > Professional & Technical > Professional Science > Physics > General
4Books > Subjects > Professional & Technical > Professional Science > Physics > Nuclear Physics
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Reviews - What do customers think about Enrico Fermi: His Work and Legacy?

A Tribute to an Outstanding Twentieth Century Italian Physicist!!  Dec 9, 2005

"Without Enrico Fermi [pronounced Fur-me], 20th century physics would have been a shadow of what it became. [He was a] superbly innovative scientist [involved in a] range of fields so large that it is unsurpassed by any other physicist in that century. [As well], he was an experimentalist and theorist-a very rare combination at that time-and an inspiring colleague and teacher."

Thus begins the forward (written by a physics and history of science professor from Harvard) of this book, edited by two University of Rome physics professors, that commemorates the life, work, and scientific legacy of Nobel Prize winner Enrico Fermi (1901 to 1954). The material presented was written by close colleagues as well as scientists whose fields were deeply influenced by Fermi.

This book is actually organized into four parts:

(1) Consists of three sections: a Forward, Preface, and an excellent Introduction entitled "Enrico Fermi: his life and a comment on his work." All these sections give insight into Fermi the man and his work. Special attention should be given to the Introduction which is "the glue connecting the various topics [of the book] and the pointer indicating the evolutions subsequent to Fermi's [untimely death]."

(2) Consists of three Commemoration speeches by Italian physicists who collaborated with Fermi. Two were given in 1955 and one in 1968. The talks in this part, just like the sections of part (1), give valuable insights into Fermi the man and his scientific work.

(3) Is made up of "fourteen [essays] of Fermi's impact by specialists in their fields, spanning physics, chemistry, mathematics, and engineering." I personally enjoyed the three essays on nuclear energy and reactors, the essay on Fermi's legacy in particle physics, and the essay on his "last lessons." Note that the introduction of part (1) has a brief summary of each of these essays (which I found very helpful).

(4) Gives a detailed chronology of Fermi's scientific endeavors with some insight into his character, scientific thought, and his style of working. The first years of this chronology are lumped together from (1901 to 1917) and the last year profiled is 1954.

The book is peppered with black and white photographs. As well, there are diagrams to illustrate key concepts.

Who is this book written for? According to the book, it says it's "written for a general scientific audience." However, be aware that many of the essays of part (3) contain some sophisticated mathematics. However, you don't have to understand it to understand the main thrust of the essay. As well, it would be beneficial to be familiar with some physics. In fact, a good science or physics dictionary would be helpful when reading this book.

What I did when I read this book was to read part (1) first. However, when I read the introduction of this part I skipped the essay summaries. Then I read part (2) and then skipped to part (4). Finally, I read part (3) last. For those essays of this part that I did not find especially appealing, I just read their essay summaries located in the introduction of part (1).

Finally, I was surprised by three omissions:

(1) There was no mention of the chemical element named in honor of Fermi. It is called Fermium. Symbol Fe.
(2) There is no mention of the U.S. lab named after Fermi called Fermilab (formerly National Accelerator Laboratory).
(3) There was no mention of the famous "Fermi Paradox" which he uttered in 1950. It states that if the universe is teeming with alien life, then where is everybody?

Note that these were omissions that I personally found surprising. In no way, do they diminish the book's quality.

In conclusion, this book offers a good readable source on the life of one of the twentieth centuries most distinguished scientists. It is a must for anybody interested in the history of modern science!!

(first published in English 2004; forward; preface; introduction; three commemoration talks; 14 essays; chronology; main narrative 395 pages; bibliography; index)


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