Enrico Fermi - Italian nuclear physicist (in the United States after 1939) who worked on artificial radioactivity caused by neutron bombardment and who headed the group that in 1942 produced the first controlled nuclear reaction (1901-1954)
Enrico Fermi's selection is part of the Illinois Top 200 project overseen by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, Springfield's State Journal-Register and the Illinois Bicentennial Commission.
This led early 20th century physicist Enrico Fermi to ask: "Given the scope of our universe, why haven't we found intelligent extraterrestrial life yet, or why haven't they found us?" There are two theories: | Civilisations destroy themselves before developing the technology needed for deep space travel.
On December 2, 1942, the first self-sustained nuclear reaction was initiated at the University of Chicago by a group of physicists led by Enrico Fermi. The experiment took place in an old squash court and became one of the landmarks of the nuclear era.