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Exchange Exemplar: He Put The 'Poly' In Polymath

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U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
Enrico Fermi in the middle, Ernest Lawrence on the left, Isidor Rabi on the right. We don't know the story of the drum.

Don't do a web search for "first man to split the atom," you'll get several different answers.

But there's general agreement on the first scientist to create a controlled nuclear chain reaction: Enrico Fermi, who fled Mussolini's Italy for a new home in the United States. Fermi's talents went beyond soaking up knowledge; he could also explain science to the world at large.

He is celebrated in David N. Schwartz's book The Last Man Who Knew Everything: The Life and Times of Enrico Fermi, Father of the Nuclear Age.

This interview from 2017 covers some of the highlights of an illustrious life.

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The Jefferson Exchange is Jefferson Public Radio's daily talk show focused on news and interests across our region of Southern Oregon and Northern California. Angela Decker is the senior producer, Nash Bennett is the assistant producer, and Geoffrey Riley hosts the show.