"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.
posted by MaritaCov (10 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
And if you become such a fan of Lise that you want to become her for Halloween next year, you can do that. (Even though most people may not know who the hell you are.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:35 AM on November 7, 2013 [2 favorites]

Great post, and happy first post!
posted by filthy light thief at 11:06 AM on November 7, 2013

Marie is short comic about a woman who dreams of meeting Marie Curie.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:13 AM on November 7, 2013

You might know that today is the birthday of Marie Curie.

I did know that, partially because it's also my wife's birthday, and she is a fan.
posted by Foosnark at 11:42 AM on November 7, 2013

Element 109, meitnerium, was named in her honor

And because of a previous failed naming attempt, under the naming rules for elements, no element can ever be named after Hahn! Suck on THAT, history!
posted by nicebookrack at 12:05 PM on November 7, 2013

I still remember it by its systematic name, unnilennium.
posted by dhartung at 4:27 PM on November 7, 2013

Lovely FPP, a glowing tribute, to be sure!
posted by Renoroc at 6:45 PM on November 7, 2013

Whee! I just borrowed the (brick-sized) biography after a random stumble onto her as a scientist who refused to work on certain projects from principle. There are some awesome pictures of her as a young woman that I'm putting into a little print for my daughters.
posted by viggorlijah at 9:02 PM on November 7, 2013

The birthday of Marie *Skłodowska-*Curie, please, as explained here.
posted by jarekr at 11:11 PM on November 7, 2013 [2 favorites]

The 1943 film starring Greer Garson is quite good. Happen to have seen it recently.
posted by neuron at 11:46 PM on November 8, 2013

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