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Volume 13: Pages 158-175, 2000
Ugo Fano's Scientific Life, Including a Curriculam Vitae and a List of His Publications
A. R. P. Rau
Published online December 15, 2008
Ugo Fano's work and sustained output over six decades has had a major impact on atomic and molecular physics, and earlier on radiological physics. There is hardly an area of current research in these subjects where he has not made a fundamental contribution or launched a whole fruitful avenue of work. His impact has been profound on theorists and experimentalists alike. Besides having trained a large number of students and associates, he has also served as a source of ideas for many others in these fields. His approach is a powerful mix of analytical and phenomenological considerations, always staying dose to observed phenomena, identifying key parameters, and weaving them into a theoretical framework that provides a comprehensive explanation of the physics involved. Among his many honors, the Enrico Fermi Award was bestowed on him by the President of the United States in 1996, the citation reading: “For his seminal and sustained theoretical contributions to atomic and radiation physics over six decades as exemplified by the phenomena that bear his name: the Fano Effect, the Beutler‐Fano Profile, the Fano Factor, and the Fano‐Lichten Mechanism.” His work has been united by the overriding theme of finding how atoms, molecules, and their aggregates behave when they acquire some energy, and thus transform from one form to another, that is, the study of the physical basis of chemistry and biology in a broad sense. This article is a biographical summary of his work.