- Ugo Fano
box_width = 300px
name = Ugo Fano
image_size = 300px
caption = Ugo Fano (1912-2001). Photo taken in 1978.
birth_date = birth date|1912|7|28|mf=y
death_date = death date and age|2001|2|13|1912|7|28|mf=y
residence = flag|USA
citizenship = flag|USA|name=American
ethnicity = Italian-Jewish
University of Chicago Carnegie Institute National Bureau of Standards University of Rome University of Leipzig
University of Turin
Enrico Fermi Werner Heisenberg
Chris Greene Charles W. Clark Gerald Gabrielse
Feshbach–Fano partitioning Fano resonance Fano factor Fano effect Fano–Lichten mechanism Beutler-Fano profile
Giulio Racah Emilio Segre Salvatore Luria
Enrico Fermi Award(1995)
footnotes = His father was
Gino Fano, he is the brother of Robert Fano, and he is the cousin of Giulio Racah.
Ugo Fano (
July 28, 1912– February 13, 2001) was an Italo-American physicist, a leader in theoretical physicsin the 20th century.
Childhood and origin
He was born in
His father was
Gino Fano, a prominent mathematician, and his brother, Robert Fano, is an eminent professor emeritus of electrical engineering at MIT. Fano's wife, Lilla Fano, a teacher, co-authored with him a well-known book on atomic and molecular physics, "Physics of Atoms and Molecules" (1959). Appendix III of this book presents an elementary description of the collision of two charged particles, which was used by Richard Feynmanin lectures that have been published as . An expanded version of this book was subsequently published as "Basic Physics of Atoms and Molecules" (1972). Fano's cousin, Giulio Racah, made great contributions to the quantum theory of angular momentum (well-known as Racah algebra), and wrote a concise monograph with Fano on the subject ("Irreducible Tensorial Sets", 1959).
Ugo Fano earned his doctorate in
mathematicsat the University of Turinin 1934, under Enrico Persico, with a thesis entitled "Sul Calcolo dei Termini Spettrali e in Particolare dei Potenziali di Ionizzazione Nella Meccanica Quantistica" ("On the Quantum Mechanical Calculation Spectral Terms and their Extension to Ionization"). As part of his PhD examination he also made two oral presentations entitled: "Sulle Funzioni di Due o Più Variabili Complesse" ("On the functions of two or more complex variables") and "Le Onde Elettromagnetiche di Maggi: Le Connessioni Asimmetriche Nella Geometria Non Riemanniana."
Rome stay and collaboration with Enrico Fermi
Fano worked with
Enrico Fermiin Rome, where he was a senior member of 'I ragazzi di Via Panisperna'. It was during this period that with the urging of Fermi, Fano developed his seminal theory of resonant configuration interaction (Fano resonance profile), which led to two papers (U. Fano, Nuovo Cimento12, 154 (1935) [http://nvl.nist.gov/pub/nistpubs/jres/110/6/j110-6fan.pdf (English translation)] , and U. Fano, [http://prola.aps.org/abstract/PR/v124/i6/p1866_1 Phys. Rev., 124, 1866] (1961)). This latter publication is one of the most cited articles published in The Physical Review.
Collaboration with Werner Heisenberg
Fano spent 1936–37 with
Werner Heisenbergin Leipzig.
He immigrated to the
United Statesin 1939. His initial work in the U.S.was on bacteriophagesand pioneering work in the study of radiological physics, specifically, the differences in the biological effects of X-raysand neutrons.
National Institute of Standards and Technology
After serving a stint at the
Aberdeen Proving Groundsduring World War II, he joined the staff of the National Bureau of Standards(NBS - now the National Institute of Standards and Technology), where he was hired as the first theoretical physicist on the NBS staff.
He served there until 1966, when he joined the faculty of
physicsat the University of Chicago. There he trained, until the early 1990s, a large body of graduate students and postdoctoral research associates who now occupy leading positions in theoretical atomic and molecular physicsin the United States, Europe, and Japan.
Ugo Fano had a major impact in sustained work over six decades on
atomic physicsand molecular physics, and earlier on radiologicalphysics. Most areas of current research in these subjects reflect his fundamental contributions. Such phenomena as the Fano resonance profile, the Fano factor, the Fano effect, and the Fano–Lichten mechanismbear his name.
Ugo Fano was a member of the National Academy of Sciences, a fellow of the
American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Physical Societyand the Royal Society of London.
He was awarded the
Enrico Fermi Awardof the U.S. Department of Energyin 1995. His most-cited work is the 1961 paper mentioned above.
* [http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v410/n6825/full/410164a0.html Obituary in "Nature"]
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.