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Enrico Fermi: His Work and Legacy (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – 1. Juli 2004


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From the reviews:

"Enrico Fermi: His Work and Legacy (…) contains essays by distinguished Italian physicists on Fermi’s contributions and their influence on subsequent developments. Its also contains a year-by-year summary of his work and talks given soon after Fermi’s death by his friend and fellow student Enrico Persico, and his collaborators Edoardo Amaldi and Franco Rasetti (…) [It] contains some gems – articles by Giorgio Parisi on Fermi statistics. Nicola Cabibbo on weak interactions and Ugo Amaldi on nuclear physics – which could profitably be read by undergraduates." (Chris Llewellyn Smith, Times Higher Education Supplement, March 11, 2005, page 27)

"It is not only physics teachers who will enjoy this book, but also physicists and science historians who want to know more about why Fermi’s work is at the core of so many modern views of physics." (Giulio Maltese, Nature, Feb. 2005, vol. 433, page 460-461)

"Enrico Fermi: His Work and Legacy … contains essays by distinguished Italian physicists on Fermi’s contributions and their influence on subsequent developments. … could profitably be read by undergraduates. … left me with enormous admiration for Fermi as a physicist with a capital F." (Sir Chris Llewellyn Smith, Times Higher Education Supplement, March, 2005)

"As part of the Italian celebrations of Fermi’s centenary, a book was produced as a resource for physics teachers … . Enrico Fermi: His Work and Legacy is an English translation of this book. It includes commemorative essays … . It is not only physics teachers who will enjoy this book, but also physicists and science historians who want to know more about why Fermi’s work is at the core of so many modern views of physics." (Giulio Maltese, NATURE, Vol. 433, February, 2005)

"This book describes the life and the work of Enrico Fermi competently in a very nice style and the English translation will be welcome and will satisfy many readers." (K.-E. Hellwig, Zentralblatt MATH, Vol. 1086, 2006)

Synopsis

Enrico Fermi's scientific work, noted for its originality and breadth, has had 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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5.0 von 5 Sternen A Tribute to an Outstanding Twentieth Century Italian Physicist!! 9. Dezember 2005
Von STEPHEN PLETKO - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
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"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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