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A splendid reflective and on-the-scene report, of the international Conference for the Peaceful Use of Atomic Energy held at Geneva in August, 1955, comes from the widow of the physicist Enrico Fermi and makes a second humane and explicit contribution to the literature of atomic study (see Atoms in the Family 1954), Mrs. Fermi begins with the birth of the idea in Eisenhower's speech at the U. N. in May of 1953 when he proposed that knowledge of new atomic developments be internationalized. The decision to hold such a meeting, involving for the first time a gathering of governments on a purely scientific basis, was a historic one and as preparations began, hopes and excitement mushroomed rapidly. The directors of the various projects come alive in Mrs. Fermi's calm and sometimes quietly amused portraits of them. On this score, and because of the very vivid records of the actual exhibitions, the book will have its strong appeal for a lay audience seeking the scientist and his environment, especially that mysterious animal, the Russian scientist, in immediate terms. But if Mrs. Fermi professes to be a layman too, she is a very learned one. Her position at the Conference was that of official historian and a by-product of her report is a cogent record of the growth of atomic science from the days when the Curies exposed themselves to burns from radium to the current possibilities of power from controlled fusion. An important report of a definite step towards peace through understanding and mechanical progress. Don't pass it up.

Pub Date: March 26th, 1957
Publisher: University of Chicago