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Bruno Rossi

AKA Bruno Benedetto Rossi

Born: 13-Apr-1905
Birthplace: Venice, Italy
Died: 21-Nov-1993
Location of death: Cambridge, MA
Cause of death: Heart Failure
Remains: Buried, Porte Sante Cemetery, San Miniato al Monte, Florence, Italy

Gender: Male
Religion: Jewish
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Astronomer, Physicist

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Rossi curve and magnetopause

After Victor Francis Hess's discovery of cosmic radiation, physicist Bruno Rossi researched the nature of these rays. He proposed a system of arranging Geiger counters to determine the positive or negative charge of particles coming from outer space. He discovered Sco X-1, the first extra-solar source of x-rays; developed the Rossi curve, a means of observing simultaneous occurrence of three or more electrical pulses using juxtaposed Geiger counters; and discovered the magnetopause, the boundary in space where Earth's magnetic field loses its dominance. Forced to leave fascist Italy, Rossi eventually came to the United States, where he was involved in the development of advanced radar, studied X-ray astronomy and space plasma physics, worked on America's Manhattan Project developing atomic weapons, and pioneered the developing field for high-energy particle physics. He is the namesake of the Bruno Rossi Prize, awarded by the American Astronomical Society for achievement in high energy astrophysics.

Rossi's father-in-law, Cesare Lombroso, was one of the 19th century's leading "characterologists", teaching lawyers and police officers physiognomy, the hypothetical relationship between physical appearance -- large jaw, flat nose, etc. -- and criminal tendencies.

Father: Rino Rossi (electrical engineer)
Mother: Lina Minerbi Rossi
Wife: Nora Lombroso Rossi
Daughter: Florence Moloney
Son: Frank Rossi
Daughter: Linda Rossi

    High School: Liceo Foscarini, Venice, Italy
    University: BS Physics, University of Padua
    University: PhD Physics, University of Bologna (1928)
    Teacher: Physics, University of Florence (1928-32)
    Professor: Physics, University of Padua (1932-38)
    Teacher: Physics, University of Chicago (1939-42)
    Professor: Physics, Cornell University (1942-46)
    Professor: Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1946-70)
    Professor: Physics, University of Palermo (1974-80)

    Matteucci Medal 1991
    Wolf Prize in Physics 1987
    National Medal of Science 1983
    Rumford Prize 1976
    American Philosophical Society
    American Academy of Arts and Sciences
    National Academy of Sciences
    American Astronomical Society
    Manhattan Project 1943-45
    Naturalized US Citizen 1938
    Italian Ancestry
    Jewish Ancestry

Author of books:
Optics (1957)
High-Energy Particles (1952)
Cosmic Rays (1964)
Introduction to the Physics of Space (1970, with Stanislaw Olbert)
Moments in the Life of a Scientist (1990, memoir)


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