Biographies

Enrico Fermi and the first nuclear reactor

Enrico Fermi and the first nuclear reactor

Enrico Fermi was an Italian physicist known worldwide for the development of the first nuclear reactor. He was born in Rome on September 29, 1901 and died in Chicago on November 28, 1954.

He also made numerous scientific contributions to the development of quantum theory, nuclear physics, particle physics and statistical mechanics.

Enrico Fermi received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1938 for his work in the field of induced radioactivity.

During the first years of his professional career, in the twenties, Fermi dedicated himself to atomic and molecular physics, applying what is known as "Fermi statistics" to electrons that move around the nucleus of the atom. Thus, he established an approximate method to study various atomic issues.

From 1933 he focused his career in the field of nuclear physics. In this way, he developed in that year his theory of "beta" radioactivity, quantitatively transforming a neutron into a proton through the emission of an electron and a neutrino. On the other hand, he conducted studies on artificial radioactivity and the absorption and diffusion properties of slow neutrons between 1935 and 1936.

All these investigations led to Enrico Fermi winning the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1938. After this achievement he moved to the United States where, together with the collaboration of other scientists, he managed to create the first nuclear reactor with a uranium battery and graphite.

After the war, he devoted himself to studying slow neutrons and their diffraction in different crystals. I also conduct various investigations on the influences between elementary particles.

During the last years of his work, Enrico Fermi carried out a series of experiments in relation to the diffusion properties of the mesons by the protons, a field in which he obtained numerous important contributions.

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