Feb, 11, 1939: Lise Meitner, ‘Our Madame Curie’

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1939: Austrian-born physicist Lise Meitner publishes her discovery that atomic nuclei split during some uranium reactions. Her research will be overlooked by the Nobel committee when it awards a prize for the work.

Meitner is a prominent example of a woman whose gender put her in the back seat when the top prize was given. The political climate in Nazi Germany contributed to her obscurity — as a Jew, she had to flee the country to survive, but leaving cost her the chance to publish with her colleagues. Plain old scientific jealousy also played a part in who got credit for discoveries that led to splitting the atom and, ultimately, the atomic bomb and nuclear power….
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Written by physicsgg

February 11, 2013 at 4:35 pm

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