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The Enrico Fermi Institute


  • Scott P. Wakely, Physics


  • Edward Blucher, Physics
  • John Eric Carlstrom, Astronomy & Astrophysics
  • Cheng Chin, Physics
  • Fred Ciesla, Geophysical Sciences
  • Juan Collar, Physics
  • Nicolas Dauphas, Geophysical Sciences
  • Andrew Davis, Geophysical Sciences
  • Henry J. Frisch, Physics
  • Lawrence Grossman, Geophysical Sciences
  • Jeffrey A. Harvey, Physics
  • Craig Hogan, Astronomy & Astrophysics
  • Wayne Hu, Astronomy & Astrophysics
  • Alexei Khokhlov, Astronomy & Astrophysics
  • Young Kee Kim, Physics
  • Edward W. Kolb, Astronomy & Astrophysics
  • Arieh Königl, Astronomy & Astrophysics
  • Andrey Kravtsov, Astronomy & Astrophysics
  • David Kutasov, Physics
  • Emil J. Martinec, Physics
  • Stephan Meyer, Astronomy & Astrophysics
  • Sidney Nagel, Physics
  • Angela Olinto, Astronomy & Astrophysics
  • Mark J. Oreglia, Physics
  • Paolo Privitera, Astronomy & Astrophysics
  • Robert Rosner, Astronomy & Astrophysics
  • Savdeep Sethi, Physics
  • Melvyn Shochet, Physics
  • Dam Thanh Son, Physics
  • Michael S. Turner, Astronomy & Astrophysics
  • Carlos Wagner, Physics
  • Yau W. Wah, Physics
  • Scott P. Wakely, Physics
  • Robert M. Wald, Physics
  • Paul B. Wiegmann, Physics

Associate Professors

  • Daniel Holz, Physics
  • Liantao Wang, Physics

Part-Time Faculty

  • Marcela Carena, Professor of Physics (part-time with Fermilab)
  • Kwang-Je Kim, Professor of Physics (part-time with Argonne)
  • Michael Pellin, Professor of Geophysical Sciences (part-time with Argonne)
  • Guy Savard, Professor of Physics (part-time with Argonne)

Assistant Professors

  • Luca Grandi, Physics
  • David W. Miller, Physics
  • David Schmitz, Physics
  • Abigail Vieregg, Physics

Emeritus Faculty

  • Edward Anders, Chemistry
  • Robert N. Clayton, Chemistry and Geophysical Sciences
  • Peter G. O. Freund, Physics
  • Robert P. Geroch, Physics
  • Roger H. Hildebrand, Astronomy & Astrophysics and Physics
  • Edward James Kibblewhite, Astronomy & Astrophysics
  • Donald Q. Lamb, Astronomy & Astrophysics
  • Riccardo Levi-Setti, Physics
  • Frank S. Merritt, Physics
  • Dietrich Müller, Physics
  • Takeshi Oka, Astronomy & Astrophysics and Chemistry
  • Eugene N. Parker, Astronomy & Astrophysics and Physics
  • James E. Pilcher, Physics
  • Jonathan L. Rosner, Physics
  • John P. Schiffer, Physics
  • James W. Truran, Astronomy & Astrophysics
  • S. Courtenay Wright, Physics
  • Donald G. York, Astronomy & Astrophysics

The Enrico Fermi Institute is a Physical Sciences unit of the University devoted to interdisciplinary research. It was founded shortly after the Second World War as the "Institute for Nuclear Studies" and is now named in honor of Enrico Fermi, who was one of the founders and a distinguished member of the Institute. All faculty members in the Institute hold joint appointments in one or more of the following departments: Physics, Astronomy and Astrophysics, Chemistry, Geophysical Sciences, and Mathematics. Graduate students and postdoctoral scholars working with these faculty members also hold appointments and perform their research in the Institute.

The experimental disciplines currently being pursued include: high-energy particle physics, high-energy astrophysics, studies of particles and fields in the solar system and in space, infrared and optical astronomy, nuclear cosmo-chemistry, geochemistry, scanning electron and proton microscopy, and solar energy concentration. Theoretical studies include physics of elementary particles, quantum field theory, theoretical astrophysics and solar physics, plasma physics, cosmology, and general relativity.

The Enrico Fermi Institute provides engineering, technical and administrative support for the academic members and students. It includes a state-of-the-art electronics development group and facilities for mechanical design and construction, as well as computational equipment. Special resources include environmental test equipment, large-scale assembly facilities, computer aided design facilities, etc. This makes possible the design of complex instruments, and the in-house construction of detectors needed for experiments in the laboratory, with high-energy particle accelerators, on high-altitude balloons, and in space on satellites, deep space probes and the space shuttle. Most of the high-energy physics activity is focused on the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory ("Fermilab"), one hour's driving distance from the campus, but experiments are also planned and prepared for the LEP/LHC facility at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland. Offices and laboratories for faculty, students, and staff are located in four adjacent buildings, the Laboratory for Astrophysics and Space Research, the High Energy Physics building, the Accelerator Building, and the Eckhardt Research Center. The Eckhardt Center, which replaces the Research Institutes building that stood at the corner of Ellis and 57th Street for more than 50 years, opened in autumn 2015, and is the new home of the Astronomy and Astrophysics Center.  The Kavli Institute for Cosmological Research now also occupies space in the ERC. LASR, after a complete renovation now underway, will become the new home of the Enrico Fermi Institute.

The Enrico Fermi Institute annually awards Enrico Fermi Postdoctoral Fellowships and McCormick Postdoctoral Fellowships on a worldwide competitive basis to recent Ph.D. recipients in astronomy, chemistry, physics, or planetary sciences. The purpose of these fellowships is to enable young scientists to work either independently or in close association with present members of the Institute in areas of mutual interest. The intellectual life in the Institute is enhanced by frequent visitors, Visiting Scholars and Distinguished Visiting Professors. The Institute also sponsors a popular Saturday morning public lecture series in the autumn and spring quarters, The Arthur H. Compton Lectures.

Chicago Pile No. 1 (CP-1) was constructed in a makeshift laboratory under the grandstands of Stagg Field Stadium on the University of Chicago campus. It was here that Enrico Fermi and his colleagues achieved the first self-sustaining controlled release of nuclear energy on December 2, 1942. In 1965, the site was designated a registered national historic landmark.  The University is planning a 75th-anniversary commemoration in autumn of this year (