The Disappearance and Death of Ettore Majorana
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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.
KeywordsEttore Majorana Salvatore Majorana Calatabiano Salvatore Majorana Quirino Majorana Giuseppe Majorana Fabio Majorana Gilberto Bernardini Giuseppe Bottai Father Ettore Caselli Enrico Fermi Giovanni Gentile, Jr. Benito Mussolini Oliviero Savini Nicci University of Palermo University of Naples The Society of Jesus Vatican State Bulletin of Inquires Frontier List history of physics
We thank Roger H. Stuewer for his careful and thoughtful editorial work on our paper.
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- 2.Quoted in Guerra and Robotti, Ettore Majorana (ref. 1), p. 52.Google Scholar
- 3.Quirino to Giuseppe Majorana, November 27, 1937, Majorana Fund, Regional University Library Giambattista Caruso, Catania, Sicily, Box 183.Google Scholar
- 4.Decree of [Giuseppe] Bottai, December 6, 1938, reproduced in Guerra and Robotti, Ettore Majorana (ref. 1), Figure 83, p. 222; partially translated, p. 57.Google Scholar
- 5.Ibid., p. 57.Google Scholar
- 6.Francesco Guerra and Nadia Robotti, “La Borsa di Studio della Rivista ‘Missioni’: un punto fermo sulla vicenda di Ettore Majorana” “[The Fellowship of the Journal ‘Missioni’: a firm point in the case of Ettore Majorana],” Il Nuovo Saggiatore 28 (2012), 86–88; expanded version at website <http://www.sif.it/SIF/resources/public/files/opinioni/op_1202_guerra_robotti-sq.pdf>.
- 7.Father Caselli to Salvatore Majorana, September 22, 1939, Historical Archives of the Department of Physics of the University of Rome “La Sapienza,” Box Materiale pervenuto.Google Scholar
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- 11.Telegram No. 10639, March 31, 1938, reproduced in ibid., Figure 79, p. 217.Google Scholar
- 12.Ettore Majorana, Matriculation document, January 20, 1938, reproduced in ibid., Figure 74, p. 209.Google Scholar
- 13.Quirino to Giuseppe Majorana, March 14, 1939, Majorana Fund (ref. 3), Box 186.Google Scholar
- 14.Giuseppe Majorana, “A salute and an expectation,” Majorana Fund (ref. 3), Box 218.Google Scholar