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Segrè (Emilio) papers
BANC MSS 78/72 cp  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Accruals
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition
  • Alternate Forms Available
  • Biography
  • Preferred Citation
  • System of Arrangement
  • Processing Information
  • Related Collections
  • Scope and Content Note
  • Separated Materials
  • Publication Rights

  • Language of Material: English
    Contributing Institution: The Bancroft Library
    Title: Segrè (Emilio) papers
    Creator: Segre, Emilio
    Identifier/Call Number: BANC MSS 78/72 cp
    Physical Description: 60 Linear Feet (40 cartons, 2 card file boxes, 1 oversize box, 3 oversize folders, 1 tube)
    Date (inclusive): 1870-1998, bulk 1939-1989
    Date (bulk): 1939-1989
    Abstract: This collection documents the personal and professional life of Nobel Prize-winning physicist and University of California, Berkeley professor Emilio Segrè and offers insights into the history of physics and physicists in the 20th Century. Segrè's papers include personal and professional correspondence; family papers and personalia; materials related to Segrè’s mentor and colleague, Enrico Fermi; articles, drafts, manuscripts, talks, and publications; journals and notebooks; book projects; records from the Lawrence Berkeley Radiation Lab and Los Alamos National laboratory; materials related to Segrè’s Nobel Prize; administrative records from the University of California Berkeley; course materials; and works by other physicists.
    Language of Material: Collection materials are in English, Italian, German and Russian.
    Physical Location: Many of the Bancroft Library collections are stored offsite and advance notice may be required for use. For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the library's online catalog.

    Conditions Governing Access

    Cartons 1-38, Card File Boxes 1-2, Oversize Box 1, Oversize Folders 1-3, and Tube 1 are open for research. Carton 39 contains restricted personal and personnel information and is closed to researchers until 2057.


    No future additions are expected.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    The Emilio Segrè papers were given to The Bancroft Library between 1971 and 2002 by Emilio and Rosa Segrè, Walter Alvarez, and the Physics Department, University of California, Berkeley.

    Alternate Forms Available

    There are no alternative forms of this collection.


    Emilio Gino Segrè was born in 1905 in Tivoli, Italy. His father, Giuseppe, was a successful industrialist, and his mother, Amelia Treves, was the daughter of a prominent architect. He had two brothers, Angelo Marco and Marco Claudio. Segrè married Elfriede Spiro in 1936. They had three children, Claudio, Amelia Segrè Terkel, and Fausta Segrè Walsby. Elfriede died in 1970, and Segrè married Rosa Mines in 1972.
    Segrè earned his Ph.D. under Enrico Fermi at the University of Rome. He was an assistant professor of physics there from 1932 to 1936, and was one of the Via Panisperna Boys, the group of young scientists led by Fermi. He directed the physics lab at the University of Palermo from 1936 to 1938. He was visiting California in the summer of 1938 when Benito Mussolini’s fascist government passed anti-Semitic laws that banned Jews from university teaching. Segrè, who was Jewish, became an indefinite émigré, and Ernest O. Lawrence offered him a job as a research assistant at the Berkeley Radiation Lab at the University of California. Segrè was a group leader for the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos National Laboratory from 1943 to 1946, when he returned to the university at Berkeley. Emilio and Elfriede became naturalized citizens in 1944, and Segrè taught physics and history of science at Berkeley until his retirement in 1972.
    While at Berkeley, Segrè helped discover the elements technetium and astatine, and the isotope plutonium-239, which was used to make the Fat Man nuclear bomb that was dropped on Nagasaki. Segrè and his colleague Owen Chamberlain were co-heads of the research group at the Lawrence Berkeley Radiation Lab that discovered the antiproton. The two were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1959 for that discovery. Segrè donated his photographs documenting people and events in the history of modern science to the American Institute of Physics, which named its photographic archive of the history of physics in his honor. Segrè died April 22, 1989 at the age of 84.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Emilio Segrè papers, BANC MSS 78/72cp,The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

    System of Arrangement

    Arranged to the folder level.

    Processing Information

    Processed by Marjorie Bryer in 2017.

    Related Collections

    Videotape interview with Emilio Segrè (BMP 1/Motion Picture 429 D. CU-BANC)
    Portraits of eminent scientists and other pictorial materials from the Emilio Segrè papers (BANC PIC 1978.187--B)
    Emilio Segrè letters : Berkeley, Calif., to Kenkichiro Koizumi, 1976 (BANC MSS 2013/55)
    Emilio Segrè sound recordings (Phonodisc 740)
    Emilio Segrè correspondence with Cornelis Bakker, 1931-1946 (BANC MSS 2015/211)
    Rosemary Powell papers (CU-581)
    Reminiscences of Emilio Segrè : oral history, 1964 (Columbia University)
    American Institute of Physics : Emilio Segrè Visual Archives (Niels Bohr Library of the Center for History of Physics at the American Institute of Physics)
    Oral history interview with Emilio Gino Segrè, 1967 February 13 (American Institute of Physics: https://www.aip.org/history-programs/niels-bohr-library/oral-histories)
    Oral history interview with Emilio Gino Segrè, 1964 May 18 (AIP: https://www.aip.org/history-programs/niels-bohr-library/oral-histories)

    Scope and Content Note

    This collection documents the personal and professional life of Nobel Prize-winning physicist and University of California, Berkeley professor, Emilio Segrè. Segrè corresponded with and worked alongside some of the most prominent physicists of his time, and his papers offer insights into the history of physics in the 20th Century. The collection spans his entire life, from his childhood, studies and early career in Italy, throughout his emigration to the United States, his career at Berkeley and Los Alamos, his retirement, his death, and his legacy. The collection is divided into nine series: Correspondence; Family Papers and Personalia; Enrico Fermi; Writings; Lawrence Berkeley Radiation Lab/Los Alamos National Laboratory; Administrative Materials; Course Materials; Works by Others; and Photographic Materials. Segrè’s original folder titles were retained in the language in which he wrote them. The collection is primarily in English and Italian, but there are also materials in French, German, and Russian.

    Separated Materials

    Objects and one nitrate negative transferred to the Pictorial Collections of The Bancroft Library.
    Printed materials transferred to the book collection of The Bancroft Library.

    Publication Rights

    Some materials in these collections may be protected by the U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.). In addition, the reproduction of some materials may be restricted by terms of University of California gift or purchase agreements, donor restrictions, privacy and publicity rights, licensing and trademarks. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owner. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user. All requests to reproduce, publish, quote from, or otherwise use collection materials must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley 94720-6000. See: http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/reference/permissions.html.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Segrè, Emilio. -- Archives
    Fermi, Enrico, 1901-1954.
    Nuclear physics
    Physicists -- California -- Berkeley.
    Physicists -- United States
    Physicists -- Italy.
    Nobel Prize winners -- United States
    Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory.
    Los Alamos National Laboratory
    Segre, Emilio