, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 160-177
Date: 08 Jun 2013

The Disappearance and Death of Ettore Majorana

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Abstract

At the end of March 1938, Ettore Majorana disappeared under still mysterious circumstances while he was Professor of Theoretical Physics at the University of Naples. We exploit new archival documents that provide evidence that without any doubt he was deceased before September 1939. These include documents pertaining to the foundation of a Fellowship in his name, announced on November 3, 1939, in the journal, The Missions of the Society of Jesus, and documents pertaining to the Police and Vatican inquires after his disappearance. We conclude by discussing the biographical sketch of Majorana that his uncle Giuseppe Majorana wrote before his death in 1940.

Francesco Guerra is Professor of Theoretical Physics in the Department of Physics of the University of Rome “La Sapienza.” His main areas of research are quantum field theory, elementary particles, statistical mechanics of complex systems, and history of nuclear physics. Nadia Robotti is Professor of History of Physics in the Department of Physics of the University of Genova, and a Corresponding Member of the Académie Internationale d’Histoire des Sciences. Her main fields of research are history of atomic and quantum physics, spectroscopy, and nuclear physics.