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Laura Fermi (1907–1977)

Author of Atoms in the Family: My Life with Enrico Fermi

Includes the names: Laura Fermi

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Short biography
Laura Fermi, née Capon, was born in Rome to an upper-middle-class Italian Jewish family, and met Enrico Fermi when she was a science student at the University of Rome. In 1928, the couple married and later had two children. In 1938, the Fermis went into exile from Italy to escape the persecution of the Fascist government and its Nazi allies. Laura's father would later be among the Italian Jews rounded up by the Nazis and killed in Auschwitz. The family traveled first to Stockholm, where Enrico Fermi received the Nobel Prize in physics, and from there emigrated to the USA, settling first in New York City. During World War II, Enrico Fermi was part of a larger group of scientists originally from Europe who worked on the development of the first nuclear bomb, known as the Manhattan Project. After the war, the family moved to Chicago, where Laura Fermi became a peace activist and clean air activist, and founded the Civic Disarmament Committee for Handgun Control. She wrote several books on science, including Galileo and the Scientific Revolution (with Gilberto Bernardini, 1961) and Illustrious Immigrants: The Intellectual Migration from Europe 1930-41 (1968). She also published an autobiography, Atoms in the Family: My Life with Enrico Fermi (1954), which became a bestseller.
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