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Enrico Fermi fountain designated EPS Historic Site

Posted By Administration, 21 May 2012

The "Second Conference of Fermi Centre Projects” took place on 19-20 April this year in Rome, Italy, in the temporary headquarters of the Museo Storico della Fisica e Centro Studi e Ricerche "Enrico Fermi”, which is presently located on the premises of the Italian Ministry of the Interior.

The conference focused on the presentation of the results and perspectives of the advanced inter- and multi-disciplinary research projects currently underway at the center. About 250 scientists, researchers and professors took part in this gathering, accompanied by a number of high school teachers and students.

A plenary session took place, in the conference hall of the Ministry of the Interior, on the morning of the second day. Activities were opened by Annamaria Cancellieri, the Italian Minister of the Interior, and Luisa Cifarelli, the President of both the European and Italian Physical Societies, as well as of the Fermi Centre.

A keynote speech detailing the fundamental scientific research undertaken in the nineteen thirties by Enrico Fermi, at the Institute of Panisperna Street, Rome, was delivered by Antonino Zichichi. The crucial and symbolic importance of the "Fermi fountain” in the history of physics was highlighted in his address.

The morning session of the conference concluded with a visit of the Head of State to the "Fermi fountain” during which a commemorative marble plate was unveiled, designating the fountain as a Historic Site of the European Physical Society.

The ceremony was undertaken in the presence of the President of the Italian Republic, Giorgio Napolitano; the Minister of the Interior, Annamaria Cancellieri; the Minister of Cultural Heritage and Activities, Lorenzo Ornaghi; and the Undersecretary of State for Education, University and Research, Elena Ugolini.

The Fermi Centre is one of the youngest Italian scientific institutions. Formed in 2001 under the ten-year presidency of Antonino Zichichi – who was also president of the European Physical Society from 1978-1980 – the Fermi Centre implements important research projects, promotes the dissemination of scientific culture and gives top priority to talented young scientists.

Soon it will take up permanent residence in the former Physics Institute of Panisperna Street: which, embedded in the building complex of the Ministry of the Interior, is currently being restored.

Located in the institute’s garden, the "Fermi fountain” – the restoration of which has already been completed – is the famous goldfish pond that Enrico Fermi used, establishing for the first time – on 22 October 1934 – the importance of hydrogen-rich substances, like water, in slowing down fast neutrons for nuclear fission reactions.

In his address, Cancellieri underlined how the involvement of the European Physical Society significantly enhanced the importance of the event, testifying to the determination – since 1968 – of European scientists towards strengthening the cultural unity of science in Europe.

For more information, please see the Italian Ministry of the Interior press release.

Tags:  historic sites 

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