Bruno Benedetto Rossi. From Galileo’s Hill to MIT

Giulio Peruzzi


Born in Venice in 1905, Bruno Rossi is unanimously considered one of the most brilliant minds of physics and astrophysics of the twentieth century. He was educated and began his scientific career between Florence and Padua, but he was forced to leave Italy in 1938. After short periods, first in Copenhagen and then in Manchester, Rossi went to the United States. Here he played a pivotal role in what was known as the “Manhattan Project”, which led to the creation of the first atomic bomb.  In 1946 he was recruited to M.I.T. (the Massachusetts Institute of Technology), where he remained for the rest of his life. Here we retrace his scientific career, which began on Galileo’s Hill where – as Rossi himself wrote – “I was born as a physicist” (Rossi, 1990, p. 2). His deep bond with Florence and Arcetri is further confirmed by the fact that, after his death in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1993, he was buried in the Cemetery of the Porte Sante at San Miniato al Monte.


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