Nobel e-Museum Biography

Enrico Fermi and the Manhattan Project

Enrico Fermi Time 100

Enrico Fermi 1901 - 1954

IIn 1938, he received the Nobel Prize in Physics for, "for his demonstrations of the existence of new radioactive elements produced by neutron irradiation, and for his related discovery of nuclear reactions brought about by slow neutrons". While in Sweden receiving the Prize he began emigration to America, primarily to escape Mussolini's fascist dictatorship.

On December 2, 1942 in a squash court under the University of Chicago's stadium, he finally achieved the world's first man-made nuclear chain reaction. This was the key to the atomic bomb. He was instrumental leading scientists at Los Alamos.

Element 100 was named fermium (Fm) in his honor.