Emilio Gino Segre


Emilio Gino Segre Famous memorial

Tivoli, Città Metropolitana di Roma Capitale, Lazio, Italy
Death 22 Apr 1989 (aged 84)
Lafayette, Contra Costa County, California, USA
Burial Lafayette, Contra Costa County, California, USA
Memorial ID 104404987 View Source

Nobel Prize Recipient. Emilio Segre, an Italian- American physicist, received world-wide notoriety after being awarded the 1959 Nobel Prize in Physics. He shared the coveted award with an American physicist, Owen Chamberlain. According to the Nobel Prize committee, these two scientists received the award "for their discovery of the antiproton." Both held positions at the University of California at Berkeley at the time of the discovery. Since 1953, he received 33 nominations for the Nobel candidacy. Over his career, he nominated sixteen physicists for the Nobel Prize with most receiving the award. In a 1955 experiment with a powerful particle accelerator, he and Chamberlain confirmed the existence of the proton's antiparticle, the antiproton. Born into a Sephardic Jewish family, his father owned a mill and his uncle was a lawyer. In July of 1922, he entered the University of Rome studying for a degree in engineering. While at a scientific conference in 1927, he was introduced to Enrico Fermi, who would become the 1938 Nobel Prize in Physics recipient. At that point, he changed his major to physics, becoming in 1928 the first student to earn his degree in physics at the University of Rome under Fermi. In 1930 he was awarded a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship to study in Germany under Otto Stern, who would become the 1943 Nobel Prize in Physics recipient and in the Netherlands under Professor Pieter Zeeman, 1902 Nobel Prize recipient. Upon returning to Italy in 1932, he was appointed Assistant Professor at the University of Rome, working continuously with Fermi . In 1936 he was appointed Director of the Physics Laboratory at the University of Palermo, where he remained until 1938. Since Benito Mussolini's fascist government passed anti-Semitic laws that banned Jews from university teaching, he along with Fermi and other professors, left Italy to come to the United States. He accepted a position at the University of California at Berkeley as a research associate in the Radiation Laboratory and later as a lecturer in the Physics Department. From 1943 to 1946 he was a group leader in the Los Alamos Laboratory of the Manhattan Project. He played a role in the discovery of the isotope plutonium-239, which was used for the nuclear bomb that was dropped on the Japanese city of Nagasaki on August 9, 1945. Chamberlain was a young physicist in his group. In 1946 he returned to the University of California at Berkeley as a Professor of Physics. He was part of the team who discovered in 1940 astatine, which is the rarest of natural elements, and in 1947 technetium, which was the first artificially-produced chemical element. Besides teaching at the University of California at Berkeley, he had temporary appointments at Columbia University in New York City, at the University of Illinois, at the University of Rio de Janeiro and in several other institutions. He was a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Academy of Sciences at Heidelberg in Germany, of the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei of Italy, and of other learned societies. Besides the Nobel Prize, he received the Hofmann Medal of the German Chemical Society and the Cannizzaro Medal of the Italian Accademia dei Lincei. He was an Honorary Professor of San Marcos University in Peru and has an honorary doctor's degree of the University of Palermo, Italy. In 1936 he married Elfriede Spiro at the Great Synagogue of Rome and the couple had a son and two daughters. After his first wife's 1970 death, as a widower, he remarried in 1972. He and Chamberlain proudly attended the reception for Yuan T. Lee, who was one of the three recipients of the 1986 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. As the 9th Nobel Prize recipient to come out of the laboratory at University of California at Berkeley, Lee entered the facility as a graduate student in 1962. Segrè died from a heart attack at the age of 84 while out walking near his home. His professional papers were donated to the Bancroft Library at the University of California at Berkeley,

Bio by: Linda Davis

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Devin Burl Houston
  • Added: 30 Jan 2013
  • Find a Grave Memorial 104404987
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Emilio Gino Segre (1 Feb 1905–22 Apr 1989), Find a Grave Memorial ID 104404987, citing Lafayette Cemetery, Lafayette, Contra Costa County, California, USA ; Maintained by Find a Grave .