Physicist or spy?

July 29th, 2015

Looking for a good summer read?

Bruno Pontecorvo and Enrico Fermi

Bruno Pontecorvo and Enrico Fermi

The Physics Library recently acquired a new biography by Frank Close, Half-life : the divided life of Bruno Pontecorvo, physicist or spy.  It tells the story of Bruno Pontecorvo, student of Enrico Fermi, nuclear scientist, defector to the Russians.  This book has been reviewed in a most excellent manner by Freeman Dyson in the March 5, 2015 issue of the New York Review of Books.  Gino Segrè has also reviewed the book in the March 2015 issue of Perspectives in Physics.

Pontecorvo’s story has also been told by by Simone Turchetti in her 2012 book, The Pontecorvo affair : a cold war defection and nuclear physics.  This book was reviewed in Nature in December 2011.

Want to know more?  CERN also has an interesting website, The Centenary of Bruno Pontecorvo, which features a very brief biography and links to interviews with CERN staff.

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