Thirty-One Days of Italians
Contributing to America - Technology
Thirty-One Days of Italians
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TECHNOLOGY

Enrico Fermi (1901-1954) Recognized as one of the twentieth century’s great scientists, and with a name that every physics student is aware of, Fermi received the Noble Prize in physics in 1938 for discovering new radioactive elements and the nuclear reactions caused by slow neutrons. Fermi’s work heralded the age of nuclear power that now provides energy, and used in medical treatments, and agricultural and industrial applications.

With a natural inclination toward physics, at 27, Fermi became a professor in the field. His applications in experimentation and theoretical physics led him to become the first to split an atom. Arriving in America after he received the Nobel Prize, he continued his research in nuclear power generation, first at Columbia University in New York then at the University of Chicago. He became a professor at the Institute of Nuclear Studies, now named the Enrico Fermi Institute, and the element fermium is named after him. Fermi was involved in The Manhattan Project during World War II.

In 1956, President Eisenhower established the Enrico Fermi Presidential Award in honor of the Nobel Prize recipient. The National Accelerator Laboratory, established by the U. S. Atomic Energy Commission in 1967 was renamed Fermilab in 1974. In 1976, Fermi was inducted to the Inventors Hall of Fame, and in 2001, a United States postage stamp was issued to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Fermi’s birth.

The Enrico Fermi Institute

Enrico Fermi Biography: Fermilab

The Noble Prize in Physics (1938)

TIME 100: Scientists & Thinkers

Fermium

 

Guglielmo Marconi (1874-1937) His early experiments with Hertzian waves led him to conducting experiments at the family villa in Italy and later in England where he would file a patent for wireless telegraphy. Although Marconi shares the 1909 Nobel Prize in physics, he was acknowledged for his ability to put together a "practical, usable system" for wireless transmission of radio waves over long distances.

Marconi did not immigrate to America, but in 1903, he established a wireless station in South Wellfleet, Massachusetts, allowing President Theodore Roosevelt to send a Morse code message to King Edward VII of England – the first transatlantic message from a U. S. President to a European ruler. Marconi’s wireless communications (known as Marconigrams) were essential for transmitting messages to and from ships, and his application expanded from cruise ships to battleships when World War I began.

The Noble Prize in Physics (1909)

Marconi Overview

A Science Odyssey: People and Discoveries, PBS

The Beginning of Radio

 

Antonio Meucci (1808-1896) Scientist, mechanical engineer, stage technician, business-owner, and the original holder of the patent for the forerunner of today’s telephone, in 2001 Meucci was recognized by the U. S. House of Representatives declaring that "… his work in the invention of the telephone should be acknowledged."

Meucci traveled from Italy to Cuba, where he began working on his teletrofono in 1849. A year later, he was in America, supporting his experimentation with the teletrofono by establishing various businesses, among them the first paraffin candle factory in the world and the first lager beer factory in America. He received patents for "Effervescent Drinks" and "Sauce for Food" and he developed the precursor to coffee filters and the process for making postage stamps. Meucci befriended Garibaldi, who stayed with him in Staten Island, while Garibaldi was in exile from Italy and before he returned to Italy in 1854 to fight for unification.

Garibaldi-Meucci Museum

The Library of Congress, H. Res 269

Antonio Meucci: Italian Historical Society of America

Basilo Catania - Antonio Meucci

Antonio Meucci Revisited by Basilio Catania

Hearing Through Wires: The Physiophony of Antonio Meucci

The True Inventor of the Telephone?

 

Frank J. Zamboni (1901-1988)  Combining his mechanical skills and entrepreneurial spirit, Zamboni was involved in several family businesses in southern California before he developed the machine that would change the ice sports and ice skating world. In 1939, the Zambonis built one of the largest ice skating rinks in the country with a specially patented ice floor, and shortly after, the rink was covered with a dome. In 1949, Zamboni received a basic patent for a machine that would shave the ice, remove it, and apply a sheet of water in a minimal amount of time. By 1954, the basic design had been improved upon, a patent for the ice resurfacer was issued, and ten machines had been sold – including two to Olympic figure skating star and actress Sonia Henie, and one to the Ice Capades in 1952.

In 1960, six machines, three specially designed, were used for the Winter Olympics in Squaw Valley, California. The following year, Zamboni became a charter member, and later president, of the Ice Skating Institute of America. In the early 1970s, he developed – by request – the Astro Zamboni®, a machine that removed water from the artificial turf of sports stadiums; and later he developed – again by request – a machine that removed the paint from the turf.

In 1965, Zamboni was inducted into the Ice Skating Institute’s Hall of Fame; in 2000, the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame; and in 2006, The Worlds Figure Skating Museum and Hall of Fame, for his "outstanding contributions to the sport of figure skating." Zamboni's inventions have resulted in 15 U.S. patents. In 2007, he was inducted in the National Inventors Hall of Fame. The Frank J. Zamboni Company is in its third generation of family ownership and operation.

The Zamboni® Story

Zamboni Glides On

I Wanna Drive The Zamboni (Song and Video)

National Inventors Hall of Fame

 

 

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Copyright 2007-2014 Janice Therese Mancuso
 
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without permission except when published with this credit: Excerpt from Thirty-One Days of Italians, ©2014 Janice Therese Mancuso.