Accomplishments of Dr. Segrè i
The Life, Times and Accomplishments of
Dr. Emilio Segrè
November 24, 2008
Accomplishments of Dr. Segrè 1
Emilio Segrè was born in Tivoli, Italy on February 1st, 1905. His parents were Giuseppe Segrè, the manufacturer, and Amelia Treves, his mother. His father ran a papermaking and hydroelectric plant and his uncles were scholars, lawyers, and engineers that were well respected in Italy’s intelligence community. Emilio was born into a prosperous Jewish family making him have a happy, pampered, childhood. Being the youngest of the ...view middle of the document...
He soon switched to the Physics Institute
Accomplishments of Dr. Segrè 2
through by persuasion of an Italian scientist named Enrico Fermi, and he received his doctorate in 1928 with a thesis entitled "Anomalous Dispersion and Magnetic Rotation." As stated by Gale and Jackson (2005), “With the combined efforts of Franco Rasetti and Fermi, and the paternal oversight of O. M. Corbino, director of the institute, Segrè developed laboratory skills and gained much theoretical knowledge before getting his doctorate after only one year as a physics student” (Document 3). With this, Emilio became the first student to be under the sponsorship of Professor Enrico Fermi.
In 1928-29, Segrè did his compulsory, military service, spent a six-month hiatus back at the Physics Institute, and received a commission as a second lieutenant in the antiaircraft artillery stationed near Rome. In early 1930 he was discharged into the reserve. He later in that year earned the title of being part of the Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship as he worked with Professor Otto Stern at Hamburg, Germany, and Professor Pieter Zeeman at Amsterdam, Holland. In 1932, Emilio returned to Italy and was appointed Assistant Professor under Professor Corbino at the University of Rome. In 1936 he was appointed as the Director of the Physics Laboratory at the University of Palermo in Sicily. During this time, Emilio fell in love with a German woman named Elfriede Spiro. Things were looking up for him as a lot of good and exciting opportunities came his way. Emilio and Elfriede married in February and in the spring of 1937 they had their first son, Claudio. Even though his life and his family were having the best time of their lives, an unexpected blow would shake the Segrè family.
Accomplishments of Dr. Segrè 3
While Segrè was visiting California in 1938, Benito Mussolini's fascist government passed anti-Semitic laws barring Jews from any type of university position. Benito Mussolini was in alliance with Adolf Hitler and both were trying to exterminate Jews out of their countries. As a Jew, Segrè was now rendered an indefinite émigré meaning he was fired from the University of Palermo for being a Jew. Luckily though, Emilio was offered a job as a research assistant at the Berkeley Radiation Lab in California ran by Dr. Ernest Lawrence. One of his major accomplishments he did at the Radiation Lab was when he was sent a molybdenum strip from a cyclotron deflector. Jonge and Pauwels (1996) stated that “A cyclotron deflector is a circular particle accelerator in which charged particles are confined by a vertical magnetic field and they are accelerated by an alternating high-frequency applied by voltage. Cyclotron deflectors are used to study the way particles interact” (p. 4). While examining the molybdenum strip he discovered that the strip was emitting abnormal forms of radioactivity. After...