Enrico Fermi and his discovery (42845)

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Tyumen State University

Foreign Languages Department for Science













Enrico Fermi and his discovery






Submitted by: E.Chaevskaya

Supervisor: L.V. Skorokhodova

Senior Lecture






Tyumen, 2007


Contens

Chapter 1. Biography pp 2 - 7

Physics in Rome p 2

Nobel Prize & The Manhattan Project p 4

Post-War Work p 5

Personal life p 7

Chapter 2. Fermi's golden rule pp 7 – 8

Chapter 3. Discovery of fermium pp 8 – 11

Facts p 8

History p 9

Binary compaunds p 10

Basic facts p 10

Isotope p 10

Notable characteristics p 11



Annotation


My course paper is headlined “Enrico Fermi and his discovery”. I used next source: internet. The purpose of my work is to describe discovery of the fermium made by Enrico Fermi.

My work consist of three parts. I start by saying about life Enrico Fermi and his achievement. In the second part I say about Fermi's golden rule. And In the third part I say about discovery of the fermium and its chemical and physical properties.

To make the conclusion I want to say that Enrico Fermi was the famous and successful scientist. And he made a great contribution in the development of the world science.


Аннотация

Моя курсовая работа называется «Энрико Ферми и его открытие. Я использовала следующий источник – Интернет. Цель моей работы – описать открытие фермия Энрико Ферми.

Моя работа состоит из трех частей. Я начинаю говорить о жизни Энрико Ферми и его достижениях. Во второй части я рассказываю о Золотом правиле Ферми. И в третьей части я говорю об открытии фермия и его химических и физических свойствах.

В заключении Я хочу сказать о том что Энрико Ферми был известным и успешным ученым. И он внес большой вклад в развитие мировой науки.



"With Fermium in your blood, you won't live long!"


Chapter 1. Biography Physics in Rome


Enrico Fermi was born in Rome, Italy on 29th September, 1901. His father was Alberto Fermi, a Chief Inspector of the Ministry of Communications, and his mother was Ida de Gattis. As a young boy he enjoyed learning physics and mathematics and shared his interests with his brother Giulio. When Giulio died unexpectedly of a throat abscess in 1915, Enrico was distraught, and immersed himself into scientific study to distract himself. Later, Enrico befriended another scientifically inclined student named Enrico Persico, and the two together engaged in scientific projects such as building gyroscopes, and measuring the magnetic field of the earth. He attended a local grammar school, and his early aptitude for mathematics and physics was recognized and encouraged by his father's colleagues, among them A. Amidei. In 1918, he won a fellowship of the Scuola Normale Superiore of Pisa. He spent four years at the University of Pisa, gaining his doctor's degree in physics in 1922, with Professor Puccianti.

Fermi's advisor was Luigi Puccianti. In 1924 Fermi spent a semester in Göttingen, and then stayed for a few months in Leiden with Paul Ehrenfest. From January 1925 to the autumn of 1926 he stayed at the University of Florence. In 1926, Fermi discovered the statistical laws, nowadays known as the «Fermi statistics». When he was only 24 years old, Fermi took a professorship in Rome (the first for atomic physics in Italy, created for him by professor Orso Mario Corbino, director of the Institute of Physics). Corbino helped Fermi in selecting his team, which soon was joined by notable minds like Edoardo Amaldi, Bruno Pontecorvo, Franco Rasetti and Emilio Segrè. During their time in Rome, Fermi and his group made important contributions to many practical and theoretical aspects of physics. Some of these include the theory of beta decay, and the discovery of slow neutrons, which was to prove pivotal for the working of nuclear reactors. His group also systematically bombarded elements with neutrons, and during their experiments with uranium, narrowly missed observing nuclear fission. At that time, fission was thought to be not improbable. While people expected elements with higher atomic number to form from neutron bombardment of lighter elements, nobody expected neutrons to have enough energy to actually split a heavier atom into two light element fragments. However, the chemist Ida Noddack had criticised Fermi's work and had suggested that some of his experiments could have produced lighter elements. At the time, Fermi dismissed this possibility on the basis of calculations.

Fermi was well-known for his simplicity in solving problems. Whenever possible, he avoided complicated mathematics and obtained quick results based on order of magnitude estimates. This quality was acknowledged by and influenced many physicists who worked with him, such as Hans Bethe, who spent two semesters working with Fermi in the early 1930s. Fermi also meticulously recorded his calculations in notebooks, and later used to solve many new problems that he encountered based on these earlier known problems.

When Fermi submitted his famous paper on beta decay to the prestigious journal Nature, the journal's editor turned it down because "it contained speculations which were too remote from reality". Thus, Fermi saw the theory published in Italian and in German before it was published in English. Nature eventually did publish Fermi's report on beta decay on January 16, 1939.

He never forgot this experience and he always speaks: "Never be first; try to be second".


Nobel Prize & The Manhattan Project


Fermi remained in Rome until 1938.

In 1938, Fermi won the Nobel Prize in Physics for his "demonstrations of the existence of new radioactive elements produced by neutron irradiation, and for his related discovery of nuclear reactions brought about by slow neutrons".


After Fermi received the Nobel prize in Stockholm, he, his wife Laura, and their children emigrated to New York. This was mainly because of the anti-Semitic laws promulgated by the fascist regime of Benito Mussolini which threatened Laura, who was Jewish.

Soon after his arrival in New York, Fermi began working at Columbia University.

In 1938, Fermi was without doubt the greatest expert on neutrons, and he continued his work on this topic on his arrival in the United States, where he was soon appointed Professor of Physics at Columbia University, N.Y. (1939-1942).

In 1944, Fermi became American citizen, and at the end of the war (1946) he accepted a professorship at the Institute for Nuclear Studies of the University of Chicago, a position which he held until his untimely death in 1954. There he turned his attention to high-energy physics, and led investigations into the pion-nucleon interaction.

During the last years of his life Fermi occupied himself with the problem of the mysterious origin of cosmic rays, thereby developing a theory, according to which a universal magnetic field - acting as a giant accelerator - would account for the fantastic energies present in the cosmic ray particles.

Professor Fermi was the author of numerous papers both in theoretical and experimental physics. Several papers published in Rend. Accad. Naz. Lincei, 1927-28, deal with the statistical model of the atom (Thomas-Fermi atom model) and give a semiquantitative method for the calculation of atomic properties. 1934.

The Nobel Prize for Physics was awarded to Fermi for his work on the artificial radioactivity produced by neutrons, and for nuclear reactions brought about by slow neutrons. The first paper on this subject was published by him in 1934. Fermi was member of several academies and learned societies in Italy and abroad. As lecturer he was always in great demand (he has also given several courses at the University of Michigan and Stanford University, Calif.). He was the first recipient of a special award of $50,000 - which now bears his name - for work on the atom.

Post-War Work


Fermi was widely regarded as the only physicist of the twentieth century who excelled both theoretically and experimentally. The well-known historian of physics, C. P. Snow, says about him, "If Fermi had been born a few years earlier, one could well imagine him discovering Rutherford's atomic nucleus, and then developing Bohr's theory of the hydrogen atom. Fermi's ability and success stemmed as much from his appraisal of the art of the possible, as from his innate skill and intelligence. He disliked complicated theories, and while he had great mathematical ability, he would never use it when the job could be done much more simply. He was famous for getting quick and accurate answers to problems which would stump other people. An instance of this was seen during the first atomic bomb test in New Mexico on July 16, 1945. He estimated that the blast was greater than 10 kilotons of TNT.Later on, this method of getting approximate and quick answers through back of the envelope calculations became informally known as the 'Fermi method'.


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