“The Pope of Physics: Enrico Fermi and the Birth of the Atomic Age”
November 21, 2016
Guests: Gino Segré, Betinna Hoerlin
A new biography of Enrico Fermi delves into the life and science of the Nobel Prize-winning Italian physicist who advanced quantum mechanics, led the Manhattan Project, and built the world’s first nuclear reactor. But husband-and-wife authors GINO SERGRÉ and BETTINA HOERLIN say those are only handful of the prolific scientist’s contributions, a man whose judgement was so infallible he was nicknamed “the Pope.” Segré and Hoerlin’s book, The Pope of Physics: Enrico Fermi and the Birth of the Atomic Age, tells the story of Fermi, his flight from Fascism and anti-Semitism in Europe, and his work on the atomic bomb. Segré, a University of Pennsylvania physics professor, and Hoerlin, a former Philadelphia health commissioner, come in this hour to talk about the great scientist, his discoveries and their impact on the world.