From the Program Chair

by Ira Polans

The April meeting of the AAAP will be held on the 9th at 7:30PM in the auditorium (Room 145) of Peyton Hall on the Princeton University campus.

The featured talk is by Gino Segre and Bettina Hoerlin on their book THE POPE OF PHYSICS: Enrico Fermi and the Birth of the Atomic Age. Enrico Fermi is unquestionably the most famous scientist to come from Italy since Galileo, so revered by his peers that he was known as “the Pope,” because his scientific instincts and skills were to be “infallible.” A physics Nobel Prize winner in 1938, he was one of the most productive and creative scientists of the twentieth century. His work changed our world. The largest particle accelerator in the United States, the nation’s most significant presidential award in science and technology, and the element fermium all bear his name.

This major biography of a towering figure in the history of science portrays Fermi as an architect of the atomic age with all its complexities. In THE POPE OF PHYSICS: Enrico Fermi and the Birth of the Atomic Age Gino Segrè and Bettina Hoerlin bring this scientific visionary to life. From his modest beginnings in Rome amidst the tumultuous environment of fascist Italy, to his immigration to America escaping anti-Semitism, he became a key figure in the Manhattan Project. His work under the football field of the University of Chicago on the world’s first nuclear chain reaction was critical in subsequently building the atomic bomb. THE POPE OF PHYSICS delves into the personal and scientific life of Fermi and how political and social forces shaped the man, and how he, in turn, shaped them. A thrilling history of scientific innovation in the twentieth century—including the controversial issue of nuclear weapons—this is the comprehensive biography that Fermi deserves. During the break there will be a book signing.

The 10 minute talk will be given by Dave and Jen Skitt and Ira Polans about our trip last summer to Chicago and the Yerkes Observatory.

There will be a meet-the-speaker at 6 PM at Winberie’s in Palmer Square. If you want to join us for dinner please email me at by Noon on April 9.

Looking forward to you joining us at the April meeting!

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