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Giuseppe "Beppo" Occhialini (December 5, 1907 in Fossombrone, Pesaro, Italy – December 30, 1993 in Paris) , Italian physicist, contributed to the discovery of the pion or pi-meson decay in 1947, with César Lattes and Cecil Frank Powell (Nobel Prize for Physics). At the time of this discovery, they were all working at the H. H. Wills Laboratory of the University of Bristol.

The X-ray satellite SAX was named BeppoSAX in his honour after its launch in 1996.


His father was the physicist Raffaele Augusto Occhialini (1878–1951), pioneer in the fields of spectroscopy and electronics theory. Giuseppe Paolo Stanislao Occhialini graduated at Florence in 1929. In 1932, he collaborated in the discovery of the positron in cosmic rays at the Cavendish Laboratory of Cambridge, under the leadership of Patrick Blackett, using cloud chambers. From 1937 to the 1944 he worked, on invitation of Gleb Wataghin, at the institute of physics of Sao Paolo, in Brazil. He returned to Italy, in 1944, taught first in Genoa (1950) and then in Milan (1952). In 1947 he contributed to the discovery of the pion or pi-meson decay in collaboration with César Lattes and Cecil Frank Powell. The discovery was made at the Wills Laboratory of Bristol using the technology of the tracks on specialized photographic emulsions. He was a protagonist in cosmic ray research with the nuclear utilization of photographic emulsions exposed to high energy cosmic radiation, work which culminated in 1954 with the European G-Stack collaboration. Later on with the coming of particle accelerators, Occhialini explored that new field of research. He also made outstanding contributions to space physics, importantly contributing to the foundation of the European Space Agency.


Occhialini gives his name to the prestigious department of physics of the University of Milano-Bicocca.
The satellite SAX, the first Italian satellite for the study of gamma rays, was renamed BeppoSAX from his nickname "Beppo".
An asteroid, 20081 Occhialini was named for him.
In 1949 he received the National Prize of the President of the Republic.[1]
In 1979 he was awarded the Wolf Prize for physics.
In 2004, Prof. Antonio Vitale, Ordinary Professor of Physics at the University of Bologna, created the "Foundation Giuseppe Occhialini" with its seat at Fossombrone, birth town of Giuseppe Occhialini. The Foundation has as its objective the popularization of physics in the superior schools, and is active above all in the province of Pesaro-Urbino, where every year there is held a course with the allocation of scholarships for the worthiest students.
On 22 June 2009 a square in Milan was named after him.


Beppo Occhialini was an avid mountain climber. During WW II, staying in Brazil, then a country hostile to Italy, he became an authorized alpine guide in the Parque Nacional De Itatiaia, where there is a peak named "Pico Occhialini".



External links

Giuseppe "Beppo" Occhialini. Agenzia Spaziale Italiana.
Giuseppe Occhialini. American Physical Society (in PDF)
"Ricordando Beppo" (Remembering Beppo). Video on Giuseppe Occhialini's life. Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica - Italy

Further reading

Redondi, Pietro. The Scientific Legacy of Beppo Occhialini. Bologna: Società Italiana di Fisica, Springer, 2006. ISBN 9783540373537.

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