The man who was both alive and dead


By Zeeya Merali (Image: F. Majorana/E Regami/AIP Emilio Segre Visual Archive) TO BE, or not to be? The question that tormented Hamlet also seems to have been an obsession with Ettore Majorana, the celebrated Italian physicist who disappeared in mysterious circumstances in the 1930s. An analysis of his letters suggests that Majorana answered the question with his own unique quantum mechanical twist, managing to achieve the illusion of being both dead and alive at the same time. Born 100 years ago this week,
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