Enrico’s Life

Enrico Fermi’s Life


Montage of archival photos of Enrico depicting his ever-changing hairline.

Online: Recommended biographical sketches of Enrico Fermi:


Enrico Fermi Obituary – New York Times, November 28, 1954

PBS American Experience Enrico Fermi Bio

Enrico Fermi Fermilab Biography

Enrico Fermi Nobel Prize.org Biography

New York Times piece about Enrico among pioneers of chaos theory. By Steven Strogatz. Later published in an anthology entitled: The Next Fifty Years: Science in the First Half of the 21st Century.


In Print: Books about Enrico Fermi, his life and work:


Archival photo of Enrico Fermi as a boy (second from left) growing up in Rome, Italy. His brother Giulio (who died in childhood) is third from right. Their older sister Maria stands on the far right, back row.


Enrico Fermi, Physicist by Emilio Segre, University of Chicago Press (1970). The only book-length complete biography of Enrico. This book helped me to understand these basic things: What was the thread of inquiry Enrico followed in his lifetime? What were his accomplishments? What was the context of his success? -of

Atoms in the Family: My Life with Enrico Fermi by Laura Fermi, University of Chicago Press (1954), New York Times Bestseller, in print, multiple language editions.

Filled with delightful, informative anecdotes and an immediate response to the history unfolding at the time including the impacts of military secrecy on family life.

Fermi Remembered, University of Chicago Press (2004). Edited by James W. Cronin remembrances of EF’s students & colleagues.

Enrico Fermi: His Work and Legacy, Springer (2004). Edited by Carlo Bernardini & Luisa Bonolis.

Enrico Fermi’s scientific work, noted for its originality and breadth, has had lasting consequences throughout modern science. Written by close colleagues as well as scientists whose fields were profoundly influenced by Fermi, the papers collected here constitute a tribute to him and his scientific legacy. They were commissioned on the occasion of his 100th birthday by the Italian Physical Society.

Enrico Fermi: And the Revolutions of Modern Physics (Oxford Portraits in Science) by Dan Cooper, Oxford University Press (1999).

“Personal anecdotes mix well with science to provide a well-rounded picture of Fermi and his friends and associates. Fermi comes across as a brilliant, warm, and approachable person. That was his strength and is the book’s strength as well. The black-and-white illustrations are crisp, appropriate, and enhance the text. An excellent short bibliography and a useful index make the book more valuable for its intended audience.” Science Books & Films

The Scientific Imagination by Gerald Holton, Harvard University Press (1998). Contains a fascinating chapter on Enrico Fermi and intuition in science.

Enrico Fermi: Master Scientist, by Jay Orear (2004).

Cornell Emeritus Professor Jay Orear discusses his relationship with his former professor and mentor Enrico Fermi. The book also includes discussions of Fermi by other scientists, most of whom presented their papers at various symposia honoring Fermi’s career.