Did you know that Emilio Segrè was born today in 1905? He was an Italian physicist. He discovered the elements technetium (Tc, #43) and astatine (At, #85). Technetium was the first artificially created element. It is used in medical diagnostic procedures. Astatine is the rarest naturally occurring element from the Earth’s crust. It is naturally produced by the decay of other heavier elements. In 1959, Emilio Segrè was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for discovering the antiproton, the antiparticle pair to the proton.
We hope that you have an inquisitive day at school today. Remember to think kind thoughts, use kind words, and do kind things. We Love You.
As an engineering student, Emilio Segrè worked with Enrico Fermi and attended the Volta Conference at Como.
Technetium was discovered in the molybdenum strip of a cyclotron deflector. Emilio Segrè was able to prove that some of the radiation was produced by an unknown element. Dmitri Mendeleev predicted many of technetium’s characteristics and properties. The name for the element comes from Greek word for ‘artificial’.
Along with Alexander Langsdorf, Jr. and Chien-Shiung Wu, he discovered the unstable isotope xenon-135. It is used as a nuclear poison in nuclear reactors.
Segrè and his team discovered the missing element 85 by bombarding bismuth-209 with alpha particles. Because of its extremely short half-life, scientists have estimated Astatine’s physical and chemical properties.
During a 1938 research trip to California, Segrè was stranded when Mussolini barred Jews from holding university positions. Sensing the war that would start in Europe, he sent for his family. They joined him in the United States. When the United States later declared war against Italy, that rendered Segrè an enemy alien. It also severed all communication Segrè had with his family still in Europe. He was later notified that his mother had been rounded up by the Nazis and his father had passed away the year after that.
Emilio Segrè also worked at the Los Alamos National Laboratory as a group leader for the Manhattan Project.