A brief history of Florentine physics from the 1920s to the end of the 1960s
Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Florence, Via G. Sansone 1, 50019, Sesto Fiorentino, FI, Italy
2 INFN, Sezione di Firenze, Via G. Sansone 1, 50019, Sesto Fiorentino, FI, Italy
3 Fondazione Osservatorio Ximeniano, Via Borgo San Lorenzo 26, 50123, Florence, Italy
Accepted: 23 November 2022
Published online: 23 December 2022
The history of the Institute of Physics at the University of Florence is traced from the beginning of the twentieth century, with the arrival of Antonio Garbasso as Director (1913), to the 1960s. Thanks to Garbasso’s expertise, not only did the Institute gain new premises on Arcetri hill, where the Astronomical Observatory was already located, but it also formed a brilliant group of young physicists made up of Enrico Fermi, Franco Rasetti, Enrico Persico, Bruno Rossi, Gilberto Bernardini, Daria Bocciarelli, Lorenzo Emo Capodilista, Giuseppe Occhialini and Giulio Racah, who were engaged in the emerging fields of Quantum Mechanics and cosmic rays. This Arcetri School disintegrated in the late 1930s for the transfer of its protagonists to chairs in other universities, for the environment created by the fascist regime and, to some extent, for the racial laws. After the war, the legacy was taken up by some students of this school who formed research groups in the field of nuclear physics and elementary particle physics. As far as Theoretical Physics was concerned, after the Fermi and Persico periods these studies enjoyed a new expansion towards the end of the 1950s, with the arrival of Giacomo Morpurgo and above all, that of Raoul Gatto, who created the first real Italian school of Theoretical Physics at Arcetri.
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