100 years after the birth of the physicist who ‘lived twice’ Bruno Touschek, the two Italian Nobel Prize winners for Physics Giorgio Parisi and Carlo Rubbia arrive at the Sapienza in Rome to open three days of work that focuses on the legacy left by Touschek in the field of particle acceleration. A maxi conference organized between Rome and the Frascati laboratories is scheduled until Saturday 4 December from Sapienza University of Rome, from the National Institute of Nuclear Physics-Infn and from the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei dedicated to the brilliant Austrian physicist who taught and researched in Italy, one of the pioneers of research on particle accelerators.
The calendar of works begins on 2 December at 9.00 with the opening in the Amaldi della Sapienza Hall, in piazzale Aldo Moro, the second day of celebrations continues in Frascati on Friday 3 December in the Frascati National Laboratories of the Infn where the ceremony of dedication to Bruno Touschek of the visitor center of the Frascati National Laboratories will be held, in which, among others, the son will take part. Francis Touschek. The third and final day of celebrations takes place at the Accademia dei Lincei, in via della Lungara.
It is 1945 and Bruno Touschek separates himself from the column of deportees, falling into a ditch on the side of the road, exhausted by pneumonia. and from the long march, one of the soldiers who were escorting the prisoners, shoots them, one shot in the head and one in the chest. But how would particle physics have evolved if that shot had really killed the young Austrian? Instead the bullet only smeared to Touschek and he was rescued, evading a destiny that seemed already sealed. 100 years after his birth, Sapienza, Infn and the Accademia dei Lincei dedicate to the figure and legacy of the brilliant Austrian physicist the ‘Bruno Touschek Memorial Symposium (1921-2021)’, a three-day conference hosted in the offices of the three institutions that played such an important part in his life. We start on 2 December at Sapienza where among others the two Nobel Prize winners for Physics, Carlo Rubbia and Giorgio Parisi, will participate. from the Amaldi classroom, the very classroom dedicated to the Italian physicist who did the most to insert Touschek in the panorama of Italian physics.
It was indeed in the 1950s that Touschek arrived in Italy in a stable form, teaching at the Capitoline University and contributing to the development and evolution of high energy accelerators. An unexpected landing for the scholar, deeply marked by personal events. Following the annexation of Austria to Germany and the introduction of racial laws, Touschek was forced to leave his studies at the University of Vienna where he had enrolled, after a short stay in Italy with his maternal aunt, Adele, known as Ada. It was in his honor that, many years later, Touschek called the accelerator prototype he conceived, built at the Frascati Laboratories of the Infn ‘Ada’ – Accumulation Ring.
The revolutionary idea realized for the first time by Touschek in AdA consisted in making two beams of particles, one of matter and one of antimatter, circulate within the same ring and in opposite directions, from whose collisions it is possible to produce new particles. This idea paved the way for the development of subsequent collision rings and is the basis of the operation of CERN’s Lhc (Large Hadron Collider)., the largest and most powerful collider in the world. In Italy, thanks to his brilliant personality, Touschek contributed to the great development of the Italian academic and scientific environment, forming a new generation of theorists – among his first undergraduates scientists of the caliber of Nicola Cabibbo and Francesco Calogero – and consolidated what would become a characteristic of the Frascati Laboratories: the symbiosis between theory, experimentation and construction of accelerating machines.
According to those who knew him, Touschek was a totally unconventional personality and, in addition to cultivating his passion for motorcycles, he had an innate talent for drawing, to which he devoted himself continuously, giving artistic form to doubts and intuitions: many of his sketches and drawings, kept by friends and colleagues, will be exhibited tomorrow at the conference at the Marconi Physics Building, next to the Amaldi classroom.