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Landmarks in the History of Science » Physics-Astronomy » Ettore Majorana's copies: Nuovo Cimento, 1931, Issues 1-10, complete set, rare, Nicola Zanichelli Editore, Bologna, 1st Edition

Ettore Majorana's copies: Nuovo Cimento, 1931, Issues 1-10, complete set, rare, Nicola Zanichelli Editore, Bologna, 1st Edition

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Detalii produs    Ettore Majorana was an Italian legendary physicist who inexplicably disappeared in 1938.

‘'In the world there are various categories of scientists: there are people of a secondary or tertiary standing, who do their best but do not go very far. There are also those of high standing, who come to discoveries of great importance, fundamental for the development of science […]. But then there are geniuses like Galileo and Newton. Well, Ettore was one of them. Majorana had what no-one else in the world had.''

                      Enrico Fermi (1938), apud Salvatore Esposito, 2014, The Physics of Ettore Majorana, p. 3

''In history of science, Ettore Majorana (1906 - ?) is singled out not only by his outstanding works on quantum theory... but also by his unusually striking personality…
Let us return to the problem of disappearance of Majorana. We tried to substantiate that the hoax both as a whole and in details had to have ‘probabilistic' nature and imitate probabilistic laws of quantum mechanics…
Majorana was not content not only with his own place and fate but with life and laws of existence as such...
There are three main versions of what he did: 1) retired to a cloister, 2) committed suicide, 3) hided himself in another country. In our view, now version 1) should be certainly rejected… Thus, only two versions remain. Plurality of personality, so important for Majorana, gives reason for cautious optimism in the favor of version 3) – actually, life in another country under an assumed name, would turn out to be for him an analogue of another life…

From another hand, Majorana could not miss the point that each time he faced with only one reality but not two (or more) its alternative versions simultaneously. With his permanent pessimism, such inevitable disappointment could lead to a tragic result, so version 2) cannot be excluded. Whatever real history of Majorana be after disappearance, in any case we seem to be able to recover one important detail. In our view, Majorana provided himself with an alternative identity card – not only because of necessity to solve a pragmatic task but also for the reasons explained above. And, even if his life finished tragically, he had some time to feel himself as someone else.

Generalizing previous observations, we must conclude that, for Majorana, the most important property of the world was plurality of reality, the existence of alternatives. As a result, in such an Universe possibilities appear that would have been mutually inconsistent in a classical world. Imaging other’s reaction to his disappearance and the variants which they had to take into account (thus, in a sense taking their viewpoint), Majorana could himself turn into a conditional spectator, watching mentally different version of his fate.

Then, such plurality means even something more than simply analogue or imitation of laws of quantum mechanics. Even in quantum mechanics with its unavoidable probabilistic nature in each experiment eventually only one choice of alternatives occurs. Meanwhile, the preceding analysis forces us to think that it was important for Majorana to embrace and feel different alternatives just as real events – at least through perception of other people. In other words, to live or feel different variants of his fate including his own death.

This circumstance strengthens arguments against version 2) – at least, Majorana could not commit suicide at once since he needed to spend some time as an observer of different version of his own fate. Thus, according to our approach, the key role in motive powers of Majorana has been played by the idea about plurality of worlds, interpreted not as a set of abstract possibilities (from which only one is realized), but rather as real variants.

It is striking that in recent years such an idea indeed appeared in science, namely in quantum cosmology based on inflation theory and quantum theory.  There exists an infinite number of universes but only a finite number of possible histories. One of consequences consists in that if in a given region of spacetime some history is realized, its other variants are inevitably realized somewhere else...

In application to the Majorana case the paradigm under discussion means that there exist worlds in which Majorana did commit suicide. However, there also exist worlds in which Majorana has managed to overcome his pessimism and survived. It remains to hope that the second variant is more frequent in Universe.’'

                     O. B. Zaslavskii, Ettore Majorana: Quantum Mechanics of Destiny, July 15, 2006 


Nuovo Cimento, 1931, Numbers 1-10, fine condition:
No. 1, 2, 3 (January, February, March) 1931
All these three issues include an article written by Majorana:
(1) ''Sulla formazione dello ione molecolare di He'' / ''On the Formation of Molecular Helium Ion'', pp. 22-28 - the first paper not coauthored by Ettore.
(2)  “I presunti termini anomali dell’Elio’’ / ‘’On the Possible Anomalous Terms of Helium’’, pp. 78-83.
(3) “Teoria dei tripletti P’ incompleti” / ‘’Theory of the Incomplete P’ Triplets’’ pp. 107-113. 
It is important to point out that all these three magazines are with uncut pages. This is exactly in the manner of Ettore Majorana. He was never interested in the intellectual property, and his researches were so obvious for him. In his life he published barely nine scientific articles, often at the urging of friends. Subject to the payment of membership fee, he was receiving automatically Nuovo Cimento as a member of the Italian Physical Society, 

No. 4 (April) 1931 - uncut pages, even though in this issue, Enrico Fermi published an article (as well as in No. 1/1931).
See Majorana's style in Emilio Segre, A Mind Always in Motion, 1993, p. 50:

No. 5 (May) 1931 - cut pages: here, Giulio Racah published: ‘’Sopra le strutture iperfini’’ / ‘’On Hyperfine Structure’’. Giulio, just like Ettore, was member of theoretical subdivision at Institute of Physics (Rome).
No. 6 (June) 1931 - uncut pages
No. 7 (July) 1931 - cut pages: we don’t know why.
No. 8 (August, September, October) 1931 - cut pages: here, Quirino Majorana, one of Ettore’s uncles, wrote an article. Quirino was the favorite interlocutor of Ettore. (see:
No. 9 (November) 1931 - uncut pages
No. 10 (December) 1931 - cut pages: Quirino Majorana writes two articles (researches on photoelectrical phenomena).

We added: Nuovo Cimento, 9, No. 1 (January) 1933, uncut pages, fine condition:

In 1933, on January 18, Ettore Majorana leaves Italy for Germany to work with Heisenberg, and later with Niels Bohr in Denmark. He returns in August the same year. Then, news appears about the suicide of Paul Ehrenfest, Ettore’s friend. In 1934 Fabio Majorana, Ettore's father, 
tragically passes away. It follows the hard period 1934-1937.
We don’t know other issues of Nuovo Cimento - in our connection - subsequent to January 1933.

We added: Enrico Persico, Fondamenti della meccanica atomica, Bologna, 1936, p. 510. Most of the pages are uncut:
''When teaching, 'he [Ettore Majorana] was very clear in treating the argument proposed by him at the beginning of the lesson and he carried out it by means of a lot of examples, always emphasizing the physical content rather than the mathematical formalism; but when he turned around the blackboard and succeeded to write, he performed calculations whose meaning were not immediately easy to follow’. The peculiar character of Majorana, then, certainly did not invite the mild student to stop him for asking some more words of explanation. Few times, some questions were posed by Sciuti only, who also asked Majorana a textbook in order to follow his lectures in an easier way. To this request, Majorana answered that he would have distributed some notes and, in any case, he was following Persico’s textbook  ('a very fine book, in Italian'), although adding some 'formal simplifications’.
However, on the basis of the lecture notes came to us […], we see that such ‘simplifications' were not at all occasional and of a minor role, so that the setting-out given by Majorana to his course was completely distinct from that used by Persico.’'
Drago, Esposito, 2005: Majorana’s Course on Theoretical Physics: A Recent Discovery, p. 5:

It is absolutely fascinating the fact that we found at the same source (located in the City of Rome) together with the magazines presented above (+ Persico's textbook), a very rare book: ''Scritti in memoria di Angelo Majorana'' Volume 1, Catania, Mattei, 1914; xii, 304 p. : front. (port.), 8vo (25 cm); binding copy.
Angelo Majorana (1865-1910) was one of Ettore uncles. Angelo obtained his PhD (in law) at seventeen years old. Dramatically, he passed away  by nervous exhaustion.
This book presents uncut pages, with an  exception: the introductory text - ''La mente di Angelo Majorana'' / ''The Mind of Angelo Majorana''.

Nuovo Cimento No 1-10 / 1931 + No. 1 / 1933 + Fondamenti della meccanica atomica, 1936 by Enrico Persico + Scritti in memoria di Angelo Majorana, Volume 1, 1914.
Ettore Majorana's personal copies.
Price: USD $700,000.00