Emilio G. Serge, the famous Italian American Physicist.

Emilio G. Serge, the famous Italian American Physicist.

Emilio Gino Serge was a famous Italian American physicist; he was awarded with the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1959 along with Owen Chamberlain. Emilio was born in Tivoli, Rome on February 1, 1905. His father, Giuseppe Serge was an Industrialist and Amelia Treves. He spent a happy youth growing up in a well- to-do Jewish family from Northern Italy. He got his early education in Tivoli and Rome. In 1922 he, got admission in the University of Rome for engineering.  In 1927 he shifted in physics from engineering and completed his doctorate in Physics in 1928. His thesis was titled “Anomalous Dispersion and Magnetic Rotation”. He had the district honor of being the first student to be under Fermi’s sponsorship.

He served in the Italian Army from 1928-1929.  In 1929 Emilio appointed as an assistant professor at the University of Rome.  In 1930 obtained a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship and worked with the Professor Otto Stem in Hamburg, Germany and with the Professor Pieter Zeeman in Amsterdam. Holland. He 1932 he returned to Italy and was appointed as Assistant Professor in Rome. After he worked with Professor Fermi and others. In 1936 he was appointed as the Director of the Physics Laboratory at the University of Palermo.

Emilio disapproved the Fascist rule of Benito Mussolini. He could not retain his position due to the anti-Semitic Laws. So he accepted the job as a research assistant, which was offered by Ernest Lawrence. In 1938, he went to Berkeley, California first as a research associate and later as lecturer in the Physics Department. In 1941-1942 he taught physics courses in the Berkeley Physics Department. He taught upper-division optics, quantum mechanics, atomic physics, graduate thermodynamics and Satirical Mechanics. Emilio was a group Leader in the Los Alamos National Laboratory from 1943 t0 1946… He also served as the leader of the radioactivity group. In 1946 he returned from the University of California in Berkeley as a professor in the Physics Department and remained there till 1972. In 1974 he returned to the University of Rome and appointed as a Professor OF Nuclear Physics.

Emilio worked in atomic and Nuclear physics. In atomic physics, he worked on atomic spectroscopy and made his useful contribution. Emilio and Professor Fermi discovered slow neutron, which have properties important for the operation of nuclear reactors. Thus Pioneering neutron work carried out in Rome between 1934 and 1935. In 1937 he discovered the new Element “Technetium (Atomic number Z= 43) and he also discovered Plutonium -239 and its fission properties with the professor Kennedy, Seaborg and Wahl. Platinum -239 used in the first Atomic Bomb and also in the bomb dropped on Nagasaki… He warded with the Nobel Prize in 1959 with Owen Chamberlain for the discovery of the Antiproton. An Antiproton is an antiparticle having the same mass as a proton but opposite in electrical charge.

He was a member of the National Academy of Sciences (USA). He was also a member of the Academy of Sciences in Heidelberg, Germany. He is a member of the Academia Nazionaledei Lance Italy. Emilio was awarded  with the Hoffmann medal of the German Chemical Society. He was an Honorary Professor of San Marcos University in Peru. He died on April 22, 1989. His death happened due to heart attack.


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