BRUNO BENEDETTO ROSSI

April 13, 1905–November 21, 1993

BY GEORGE W. CLARK

The initial motivation of the experiment which led to this discovery [of Sco X-1] was a subconscious feeling for the inexhaustible wealth of nature, a wealth that goes far beyond the imagination of man. That feeling was possibly generated by experiences in my previous work on cosmic rays; more likely it was inborn and was the reason why, as a young man, I went into the field of cosmic rays. In any case, whenever technical progress opened a new window into the surrounding world, I felt the urge to look through this window, hoping to see something unexpected.1

BEGINNINGS

BRUNO ROSSI WAS BORN April 13, 1905, in Venice, the eldest of three sons of Rino Rossi and Lina Minerbi. His father was an electrical engineer whose successful career began with work on the electrification of Venice. He wrote in his autobiography2 that his father loved science and would have chosen it for a career except for practical considerations. He attributes to his father the influence that turned what may have been an “inborn tendency toward science into a lifelong commitment.” He recalled:

perfectly clear winter mornings when the air was so unusually transparent that the Alps surrounding Venice became clearly visible and appeared incredibly close (Fata Morgana if you are a child or a poet, anomalous atmospheric refraction if you are a scientist). On those mornings I would try to find a sandalo (a small gondola) and, accompanied by a friend, I would



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