Physics in Perspective

, Volume 13, Issue 1, pp 58–90

Bruno Rossi and the Racial Laws of Fascist Italy


DOI: 10.1007/s00016-010-0035-4

Cite this article as:
Bonolis, L. Phys. Perspect. (2011) 13: 58. doi:10.1007/s00016-010-0035-4


Bruno Rossi (1905–1993), one of the giants of 20th-century physics, was a pioneer in cosmic-ray physics and virtually every other aspect of high-energy astrophysics. His scientific career began at the University of Florence in 1928 and continued at the University of Padua until 1938, when the Fascist anti-Semitic racial laws were passed in Italy. He was dismissed from his professorship and was forced to emigrate, as described in unpublished letters and documents that display the international character of physics and physicists. His young bride Nora Lombroso, his love of physics, and the solidarity of the physics community gave him the courage to begin a new life in Copenhagen, Manchester, and in the New World at the University of Chicago, Cornell University, Los Alamos, and after the Second World War at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he became the center of a worldwide research network.


Bruno RossiNora LombrosoEnrico FermiBenito MussoliniAntonio GarbassoSergio De BenedettiWalther BotheRobert A. MillikanArthur H. ComptonNiels BohrHans A. BethePatrick M.S. BlackettArcetriUniversity of FlorenceUniversity of PaduaNiels Bohr InstituteUniversity of ManchesterUniversity of ChicagoCornell UniversityLos AlamosMassachusetts Institute of TechnologyFascismanti-Semitismracial lawsSociety for the Protection of Science and LearningRossi coincidence circuitcosmic raysmesotronsX-ray astronomysolar windinternationalism of physicshistory of physics

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© Springer Basel AG 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.RomeItaly