Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
The Pope of Physics

The Pope of Physics

Enrico Fermi and the Birth of the Atomic Age

Gino Segrè and Bettina Hoerlin

Henry Holt and Co.

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Enrico Fermi is unquestionably among the greats of the world's physicists, the most famous Italian scientist since Galileo. Called the Pope by his peers, he was regarded as infallible in his instincts and research. His discoveries changed our world; they led to weapons of mass destruction and conversely to life-saving medical interventions.

This unassuming man struggled with issues relevant today, such as the threat of nuclear annihilation and the relationship of science to politics. Fleeing Fascism and anti-Semitism, Fermi became a leading figure in America's most secret project: building the atomic bomb. The last physicist who mastered all branches of the discipline, Fermi was a rare mixture of theorist and experimentalist. His rich legacy encompasses key advances in fields as diverse as comic rays, nuclear technology, and early computers.

In their revealing book, The Pope of Physics, Gino Segré and Bettina Hoerlin bring this scientific visionary to life. An examination of the human dramas that touched Fermi’s life as well as a thrilling history of scientific innovation in the twentieth century, this is the comprehensive biography that Fermi deserves.

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Enrico Fermi’s ancestral roots can be traced to the valley of Italy’s greatest river, the Po, whose origins lie in the western Alps. It flows from west to...

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About the author

Gino Segrè and Bettina Hoerlin

Gino Segrè is a professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Pennsylvania. He has been a visiting professor at M.I.T. and Oxford University, chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Pennsylvania, and director of theoretical physics at the National Science Foundation. He is the author of several books of scientific history, Ordinary Geniuses, Faust in Copenhagen, and A Matter of Degrees.

Bettina Hoerlin taught healthcare disparities at the University of Pennsylvania for sixteen years. She also has been a visiting lecturer at Haverford College and Oxford University. Her career in health policy and administration included serving as Health Commissioner of Philadelphia. The author of Steps of Courage: My Parents’ Journey from Nazi Germany to America, she grew up in the Atomic City of Los Alamos.

Gino Segrè

Courtesy of the author.

Gino Segrè

Bettina Hoerlin

Courtesy of the author.