Article ID: CBB816952060

Franco Rasetti, a Scientist Across Physics and Biology (2015)


The transition from a “craftsman-like” to an “industrial-like” organization of the scientific research marked the scientific biography of the Italian physicist franco rasetti. He was one of fermi’s privileged interlocutors on both experimental and theoretical issues: from spectroscopy and quantum statistics to the implications of raman radiation studies on nuclear structure. this last contribution paved the way to a new nuclear model and to the nuclear physics development by the fermi group since the early thirties. rasetti was active in Italy also after fermi’s departure to the USa in 1938, until he decided to leave to Canada in 1939. By then, rasetti’s individualistic trends were emphasized by the study of cosmic rays in alternative to neutron-induced radioactivity: “cosmic rays were free and everywhere,” he said besides. rasetti also refused to take part in both the Manhattan project and the joint anglo-Canadian project. Endowed with an eclectic and egocentric personality, he arrived at declaring that he would dedicate himself no longer to physics, but to biology and geology, which he considered as freer and more pacific sciences. though rasetti afterwards partially returned to physical research, which he definitively left only in 1959, he remained reluctant to transform the scientific work into an industrial, managerial, and strongly competitive activity.

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Authors & Contributors
Robotti, Nadia
Leone, Matteo
Bonolis, Luisa
Cioci, Vincenzo
Pelosi, Giuseppe
Dominici, Daniele
Physis: Rivista Internazionale di Storia della Scienza
Physics in Perspective
European Physical Journal H
Annals of Science: The History of Science and Technology
Luigi Pellegrini Editore
Raffaello Cortina Editore
Firenze University Press
Basic Books
Particles (nuclear physics)
Theoretical physics
Nuclear fission
Atomic, nuclear, and particle physics
Fermi, Enrico
Rossi, Bruno Benedetto
Rasetti, Franco
Wick, Gian Carlo
Sommerfeld, Arnold Johannes Wilhelm
Szilard, Leo
Time Periods
20th century
20th century, early
United States
Rome (Italy)
Milan (Italy)
Naples (Italy)
Turin (Italy)
Università di Roma

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