ARGONNE NATIONAL LABORATORY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ARGONNE NATIONAL LABORATORY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Portrait of Enrico Fermi (1901-1954), Italian- American physicist and Nobel Laureate. This photograph was taken in an accelerator laboratory at the University of Chicago in 1942. Fermi's early work on neutrons was performed in Italy. He discovered that neutrons are more likely to be absorbed by an atomic nucleus if they are slowed down by a 'moderator' such as water. The discovery of these thermal neutrons led to his Nobel Prize for physics in 1938. That same year he moved to America, and in 1942 built the world's first atomic pile (patented with Leo Szilard in 1955). The element fermium was named in his honour.
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