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  • Writer's picturePaola Slajmer

An atomic journey

He was an accomplished physicist well before his departure across the Atlantic, but in the United States he made history

The first Italian immigrant that popped up in my mind when starting to draft my website was Enrico Fermi. Born in Rome, he graduated in Physics at the renowned Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa. In Rome, he was part of the Gruppo di Via Panisperna, a lab group that included other world-renowned names like Franco Rasetti and Emilio Segrè.

A discovery that will change the World forever

“Whatever Nature has in store for mankind, unpleasant as it may be, men must accept, for ignorance is never better than knowledge.”

Fermi left Italy in 1938 to escape new Italian racial laws that affected his Jewish wife, Laura Capon. He emigrated to the United States, where he worked on the Manhattan Project during World War II. He became famous at the "architect of the nuclear age" and excelled at both theoretical and experimental physics.

Immigration and naturalization

He became American in 1944

On Ancestry you can find his certificate of arrival, dated Jan 2, 1939, his declaration of intention (1939), his petition of naturalization (1942) and finally his oath of allegiance ( July 11, 1944).

At the bottom of the oath of allegiance, it is stated his Certificate of naturalization number (5985661). This is the number required to request to USCIS naturalization records. LINK

Is Enrico's offspring eligible for Italian Citizenship?

From his petition of naturalization, we read that he two children: Nella, born in January 1931, and Giulio, born in February 1936. Since Enrico naturalized in 1944, after they were born, both Nella and Giulio are eligible to claim Italian Citizenship by right of blood - a process formally know as iure sanguinis. And so do their descents!

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