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The disappearance of a nuclear physicist: Ettore Majorana born 1906 in Catania disappeared March 26, 1938 Amand Faessler, Tuebingen.

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Presentation on theme: "The disappearance of a nuclear physicist: Ettore Majorana born 1906 in Catania disappeared March 26, 1938 Amand Faessler, Tuebingen."— Presentation transcript:

1 The disappearance of a nuclear physicist: Ettore Majorana born 1906 in Catania disappeared March 26, 1938 Amand Faessler, Tuebingen

2 Amand Faessler: Ettore Majorana Ettore Majorana La Scomparsa di Majorana

3 Amand Faessler: Ettore Majorana Father, two sisters and Ettore Majorana

4 Amand Faessler: Ettore Majorana Ettore Majorana 5. 8. 1906 – 26. 3. 1938 Mathematical „Wunderkind“ from Catania During visits of friends in the family Ettore three to four years old war sitting under the table and multiplyed two three digit number or calculated the square root from such numbers.

5 Ettore Majorana 5. 8. 1906 – 26. 3. 1938 Amand Faessler: Ettore Majorana 1923 – 1928 studies ingeneering in Rome. 1929 - 1930 does his Ph. D. with Enrico Fermi in Rome about Theoretical Physics: „Quantum theory of the radioactive Nucleus“.

6 Amand Faessler: Ettore Majorana Ettore Majorana Enrico Fermi With Fermi Majorana often did calculations in competition: Majorana in his head, the back to Fermi and Fermi with slide rule and paper. Normally Majorana did win.

7 Ettore Majorana At the beginning of 1932 the neutron was detected: Majorana realizes that now one is able to build up the nuclei from protons and neutrons consitently. Fermi urges him to publish the idea or at least to go in summer to the Paris conference and report about it. Majorana refuses. Heisenberg publishes first that protons and neutrons can built the nuclei and introduces isospin. Amand Faessler: Ettore Majorana

8 Ettore Majorana 1928 – 1938Scientific Work: Contributions to Quantum Mechanics and Nuclear Physics 1933 Fellowship from the consiglio Nazionale delle Richerche to go to Heisenberg in Leipzig from January 20. till August. Publishes in Zeitschrift für Physik an article in german with the title: „Über die Kerntheorie“

9 Amand Faessler: Ettore Majorana Ettore Majorana 20.January till August 1933 in Leipzig Werner Heisenberg in Leipzig 32 years old Plays with him chess and discusses about the nucleus and the nucleon-nucleon interaction. They like each other.

10 Amand Faessler: Ettore Majorana Ettore Majorana

11 Amand Faessler: Ettore Majorana Ettore Majorana 1. page of an article in ‚Zeitschrift für Physik 82‘

12 1933 -1937: Ettore Majorana lives secluded in Rome 1933 – 1937 lived practically alone in an appartment of the Majorana family in Rome, curtains closed and only his physics friends send him somtimes a hair cutter. He publishes no paper. 1937 competition for three theoretical chairs (Chairman of committee: Enriquo Fermi ) short list:1. Gian Carlo Wick (Palermo => Turino, +1992) 2. Giulio Racah (Pisa => Israel) 3. Giovanni Gentile (junior; Cagliari/Sardinia) son of Giovanni Gentile senior, former minister of education and royal senator from Castelamare/Sicily

13 Amand Faessler: Ettore Majorana Ettore Majorana Surprising application for a chairs by Ettore Majorana: „Chiara fama“ (due to the undoubtable good reputation) → Naples For the competition has has to write an scientific article: „La Teorica simmetrica dell‘ electrone e del positrone“ Positron = antiparticle of the electron and neutrino can be antineutrino: Majorana Neutrino

14 Amand Faessler: Ettore Majorana Ettore Majorana in Naples Oct. 37 Script of the Lecture 25.1.XVI Copy from Aldo Covello 25. Januar 1938 in Napels 26. März 1938 disappeared without a trace Ship: Napels → Palermo → Napels ??

15 The traceless Disappearance of Ettore Majorana On March 25. Majorana draws from the bank all the money he has earned in Naples from October 1937 to February 1938 and which he did not touch before. The money was never found. (The nephew of Ettore: „A Majorana must not work for his living.“) On March 25. 1938 at 22.30 h he boards the mail ship to Palermo and sleeps in a three person cabin. Amand Faessler: Ettore Majorana

16 Letter on March 25, 1938 Dear Carelli, I have made a decision which was unavoidable. In it is not the smallest grain of egoism, but I am aware of the problems which my surprising disappearance is for you and the students. I also ask you to forgive me that I disappoint your trust, your sensire friendship and the sympathy which you extended to me in the last months. I am asking you to bring me also to those in their memory, whom I got to know and to estimate in your Institute, especially Sciutti. Also I will keep them in my memory, at least till 11 o‘clock this evening and perhaps also later.

17 Amand Faessler: Ettore Majorana Farwell Letter to his Family from 25. April 1938 I have only one wish, that you do not dress in black. But if you want to follow customs, you can wear a sign of sorrow but not longer than three days. Later on remember me in your heart, if you can and forgive me.

18 Amand Faessler: Ettore Majorana Letter from Palermo on the stationary letter paper of the Hotel „Sole“ to the director Carelli of the Theoretical Institute in Naples.

19 Amand Faessler: Ettore Majorana Letter from March 26, 1938-XVI on the stationary of the hotel „Sole“ in Palermo Dear Carelli, hopefully you have received the telegram and my letter at the same time. The sea has refused me and I will return tomorrow into the hotel „Bologna“. Perhaps I travel together with this letter. But I have the intension to give up teaching. Please, do not assume that I am a girl from a play of Ibsen, the case is different. For all details, I will be available to you.

20 Return from Palermo to Naples ? The return ticket again for a three person cabin was given on the departure of the ship on the evening of March 26th. in Palermo to the company. (by Majorana ???) A cabin fellow, Prof. Strazzieri reports, that two additional persons were on return in the cabin: Majorana ? and an english man Carlo Price, who seemed to be uneducated and spoke sicilian dialect. He has seen the person (supposedly Majorana) still at 5 h in the morning on March 27th. in his bed. Amand Faessler: Ettore Majorana

21 Return to Palermo on March 27th. ? Letter of Prof. Strazzieri to the brother of Majorana: „If the third man was your brother, he could not have killed himself before the arrival in Palermo.“ A nurse, who did know him, reports, that she has seen him before lunch on March 27th. in a narrow street in Naples in his blue coat. Amand Faessler: Ettore Majorana

22 Investigations of the Police  On April 16. 1938 letter of Giovanni Gentile, professor of philosophy, former minister of education and culture, royal senatore (Senato del Regno) to the President of the Italian Police Bocchini to receive the brother of Ettore. (April 18. 1938)  Erasmo Recami found three consecutive remarks written across the Majorana potfolio of the police department in Rome:  Violett (Police President): Report urgently  Green: Informe the police, that His Excellency (Police President) wants, that the invetigations are intensified.  Blue (office of police president): Atti (Back to the documents) April 23. 1938. Amand Faessler: Ettore Majorana

23 Musolini and „Il Caso Majorana“. Mussolini on petition of the mother and of Fermi looks in to the Majorana portfolio of the police: Additional note of Musolini on the first page: „I want, that he is found“. Below a note of the police president: „The deads are found, the living can disappear.“ Amand Faessler: Ettore Majorana

24 Rumors go around: A beggar at a street corner in Marsalla is helping scholars with their mathematics. A prior of a monastery in Naples reports, that a man looking like Ettore asked before March 26. 1938, if he could join the monastery. (Majorana sees, that his work leads to the atomic bomb.) Someone sees an entry into a hotel book in Buenos Aires with the name of Majorana. Amand Faessler: Ettore Majorana

25 In the Monastery San Giovanni degli Erimiti in Palermo ? Leonardo Sciascia in „The Disappearance of Ettore Majorana (La Scomparsa di Majorana)“ (Italian Bestseller with more than 600 000 sold copies.): At the end of the novel a friend of Sciascia goes with a monk to the cemetary of the monastery San Giovanni degli Erimiti in Palermo with 30 little hills of soil and crosses without names. The monk: „A famous scientist lived in the monastery and is here buried.“ The monk: „Ho dato risposta a tutti i vostri quesiti ?“. ENDE Sciascia‘s friend says: „Si“.

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