Click on image (below) to watch my TEDx talk On Becoming the Inspiration We Seek:

CLICK ON IMAGE ABOVE to view my TEDx talk, Rome, Italy Sept 30, 2011. (7 min). Photo: © TEDxTransmedia


I have delivered Neutron Trail talks to students, academics, activists, nuclear industry survivors and lay people across generations and cultures – in the US, Canada and Europe. 

On the Neutron Trail –  Nuclear Disarmament: Don’t Stop Now!

Olivia Fermi, photographer and process facilitator, talks about the worldwide response to nuclear weapons. From the moral awakening of the scientists who built the first bombs to Gorbachev’s glasnost and beyond to the current conundrum of nuclear weapons in unstable hands, learn about the pivotal role of the world nuclear disarmament movement in shaping current events and public policy. Through personal stories of activists, images and timelines she brings to life the courage and persistence of individuals championing a saner, healthier, safer world. Forty-five minute talk with projected images, guided discussion and Q&A for total of 1.25 hours. Past talks: Vancouver, CANADA and Boulder, CO.

TEDx talk, Rome, Italy Sept 30, 2011. Click on image above to view talk (7 min). Photo: © TEDxTransmedia


On the Neutron Trail – Elemental
A multi-disciplinary look at the birth of atomic energy and the atom bomb brought to life through the personal stories and family insights of Olivia Fermi, artist and social scientist, the granddaughter of Enrico Fermi, physicist. 1.5 hours total, includes one-hour talk with projected images; and pre and post guided discussion. Past talks: New Jersey, New Mexico, Vancouver Canada.

On the Neutron Trail – Enrico and Laura Fermi

Photo Collage depicting Olivia and her grandparents Laura and Enrico Fermi by Michele Hall

Olivia Fermi highlights key questions along the Neutron Trail through the life stories of her grandparents Enrico Fermi, theoretical and applied quantum physicist, who built the first nuclear reactor and the first nuclear bombs and Laura Fermi, author and pioneer in the environmental and handgun control movements in America. Talk with projected images: 45 – 60 minutes including discussion of issues raised by the Fermi’s lives. Past talks: Vancouver, Canada, Richland, WA (site of Hanford Engineering Works), Chicago and New York, NY

and some RESPONSES….

The story of the Neutron Trail recounts some of the most significant events of the 20th Century. Olivia Fermi, the grand daughter of the central figure in unleashing the energy of the atom, tells a story that touches on remarkable achievement and triumph, but also on destruction and the continuing threat to human society. Her account of events is engrossing and thought provoking, and I am glad that she has taken on the task of engaging the public in these issues.
— Jerome Friedman, Nobel laureate, MIT Professor Emeritus of Physics, founding Board Member of the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology and Enrico Fermi’s last graduate student

I just saw Olivia’s talk last night On the Neutron Trail. It was fantastic, smart, educational and inspired!” — Linda Solomon, Editor-in-Chief, Vancouver Observer, coverage here.

It’s striking to see how you are weaving together the history and the biography through your personal lens. You have found a way to integrate these classic historic images with your own experience, your own views and your own reactions.” — Alice Schreyer, Director, Special Collections Research Center, Regenstein Library, University of Chicago

Thanks for a fun thought-provoking evening. It was great to get a real mix of opinions afterward.” — Allan Finlayson, Engineer

…For me as a Japanese person, born and raised in the country that suffered a great deal, this presentation stirs especially complex feelings in me. Yet Olivia’s story fascinates me.… Olivia Fermi’s presentation is informative and interesting. It helps us to understand the background history of the fateful event and also the fragility of the world we live in. Because this is her personal story, it gives us a sense that what happened and is happening is a lot closer to us than just a piece of history…” — Yukiko Onley, Photographer

This story is as big as the sky.” — Jay Samwald, Filmmaker

I was really glad to finally attend one of your sessions. Your story is fascinating and thought-provoking on so many levels. I know it will yet evolve further as you expand your gaze and search onwards. And do try to get it into high schools. I see it as a multi-disciplinary attraction – math, physics, history, psychology…” — Esther Chetner, VP Leadership Development, JCC, Vancouver

Excellent! … your courage and curiosity to delve back into the feelings that surround this legacy.

I find an extraordinary resonance with Olivia Fermi’s deeply personal and dedicated working through of the Fermi Effect conundrum. In her Neutron Trail talk, she weaves her insights into the life and death images of Georgia O’Keeffe’s desert scenes. As she herself finds her way into the landscape, so do we – leading to a sense of acceptance and renewal. The invitation to join her on the Neutron Trail offers us a pathway towards coming to some kind of peace with this time in our history.” — Morag Benepe, Commercial Artist, New York City

The slides were fantastic. So was [seeing Enrico’s] slide rule.”

Your Neutron Trail project brings us a wide-angle view on our nuclear dilemmas, but in an intimate way because of the connection to your grandparents. You take people into such an important part of our history — cracking the atom is emblematic of changing everything. Because you have this relationship and your quest to understand it, you’re wayfinding for the audience to find their particular intimate relationship with how humans are on the planet. Implicitly, both the specific issue and the call to action are there in your talk.” — Kate Sutherland, author

It seems people born after World War II view it very differently than those of us who remember the War. To us, we didn’t necessarily think about the number of dead, it was more chance than something terrible. We were more fatalistic, more independent, I think.” – Hanafi Von Hahn, retired engineer

I was impressed by re–realizing that the sum total of many regular people’s actions is what culminated in the creation and use of the bomb. Perhaps the message to each of us is to try to be responsible and thoughtful all the way through.

Olivia, you are a brilliant artist and a brave soul. Your Neutron Trail presentation is profound and enlightening. I love how you fill it with personal touches, far beyond newspaper headlines. You have shown great strength of heart, wisdom and conviction to bring this fascinating story to us. Thank you.” — Tom Tompkins, Community Arts Organizer