"A physicist who never lost her humanity"
November 7, 2013 10:28 AM Subscribe
You might know that today is the birthday of Marie Curie. You might not know that it's also the birthday of the physicist Einstein called "Our Marie Curie." Although the birth register lists her birth date as November 17, 1878, Lise Meitner observed her birthday as November 7th. Her work with Otto Hahn in discovering nuclear fission led to him receiving the 1944 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. The omission of Meitner's contribution, largely due to the political climate of World War II, is considered one of the most famous snubs in Nobel history. Their collaboration was portrayed in NOVA docudrama Einstein's Big Idea (video starts at her introduction). She also discovered the Auger effect a year before its namesake. Element 109, meitnerium, was named in her honor. The first chapter of Lise Meitner: A Life in Physics, a biography written by Ruth Lewin Sime, is available here. As always, there is a relevant XKCD.
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