July 12, 2001
Vol. 20 No. 19

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    University will remember Enrico Fermi’s legacy with anniversary celebration

    By Steve Koppes
    News Office

    [fermi illustration] by laurie b. davis, notebook images courtesy of university of chicago special collections
    The University will celebrate the 100th anniversary of Enrico Fermi’s birthday Saturday, Sept. 29, with a symposium of scientists who knew him and the unveiling of a new U.S. postage stamp in his honor.

    Fermi, who received the 1938 Nobel Prize in Physics, served as the Charles H. Swift Distinguished Service Professor in Physics and the University’s Institute for Nuclear Studies from 1946 until his death in 1954. The institute now is known as the Enrico Fermi Institute.

    Fermi is known to the public primarily for his role in producing the first controlled, self-sustaining, nuclear chain reaction at the University during the Manhattan Project in 1942. In 1946, he stimulated the construction of the Chicago cyclotron. With this tool, he and his colleagues were the leaders of the emerging field of particle physics.

    He also made major contributions to the statistics of electron gas, to the statistical model of the atom itself and to the understanding of radioactivity.

    The events for the Saturday, Sept. 29 celebration will begin with the Fermi postage stamp dedication from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. at Ida Noyes Hall, 1212 E. 59th St. The symposium, titled “Fermi Remembered,” will follow from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. in the Max Palevsky Cinema in Ida Noyes Hall. Symposium speakers will include Fermi’s colleagues and students.

    Speakers will include Nobel laureates Jack Steinberger (S.B., ’42) and Murray Gell-Mann, a physics faculty member from 1951 to 1954. Nobel laureate James Cronin (S.M., ’53, Ph.D., ’55), University Professor in Physics, and his colleagues in the Enrico Fermi Institute, are organizing the symposium.

    The stamp dedication and the symposium are both free and open to the University community, and registration is required for the symposium. Online registration and more information is available at http://fermi_remembered.uchicago.edu/.