Enrico Fermi and the Development of the Atomic Bomb

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Enrico Fermi and the Development of the Atomic Bomb

The 20th century saw many important discoveries which impacted people worldwide. Great discoveries were made in the realm of science and technology which lead to the atomic age. One of the leading pioneers in the area of physics was Enrico Fermi. Without his contributions, the atomic bomb may not have been developed or would have possibly been postponed.

Enrico Fermi was born into a family who had enough money to live comfortably. "Fermi was born in Rome on the 29th of September,1901, the son of Alberto Fermi, a Chief Inspector of the Ministry of Communications, and Ida de Gattis" (Mawson 12). Although he had a comfortable life, he also had his share of problems and tragedies. As a child, Fermi was small and unattractive. He was often lonely and found comfort in the company of his older brother. Fermi did not study physics until he was a teenager.

Tragedy had struck his family. "He discovered physics at the age of 14, when left bereft by the death of his cherished older brother, Guilo, during minor throat surgery…" (Rhodes 154). Fermi could not be consoled by religion like his family. The death of his brother left him even more quiet and lonely than before.

Enrico Fermi then decided to devote his life to studying. "Physics may have offered more consolatory certitude than religion" (Poindexter 50). His early aptitude for physics and mathematics was recognized. After his brother's death, the grieving boy browsed through bookstalls at Campo dei Fion in Rome. "He found two antique volumes of elementary physics and carried them home…" (154). Fermi read them and corrected some of the mathematics. When finished, he discovered som...

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...ed new source of energy and forestalling, maybe permanently, of world-scale war. Fermi received a special award of $25,000 for his work on the atomic bomb from the U.S. Atomic

Energy Commission in 1954. Later that year, Fermi prematurely died of stomach cancer.

Of the many important discoveries that occurred during the 20th century, several have had far-reaching ramifications and altered the course

of history. Those tremendous advances that were made in science had tremendous effects worldwide and laid the foundation for further scientific developments that were to come. Enrico Fermi's contribution to the area of physics, which led to the development of the first atomic bomb, opened up the secret of the atom, unleashing its tremendous power. The world lost its innocence and entered the atomic age. There would be no turning back.
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