Lise Meitner

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Lise Meitner

Lise Meitner was born to a Jewish family on November 7, 1878 in Vienna, Austira. She was one of eight children. She was raised Jewish, but she later converted to Christianity and was baptized in 1908. She attended the University of Vienna where she studied physics. She graduated from the university with her doctorate in 1906. She moved to Germany in 1907 and went on to work with Otto Hahn as his assistant at the Keisler Wilhelm Institute (KWI) for Chemistry. She continued to work in Germany until 1938 when Austria was annexed during WWII. She was forced to flee the country because of her Jewish heritage, despite the fact that she had converted to Christianity 30 years prior. She continued to work with scientists like Hahn and Max Planck. She was still working with Hahn in 1944 when he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry, but due to the fact that since she had fled Germany due to the war, her role in the research of fission was essentially ignored. In 1960, she moved to England where she died on October 27th eight years later.


Born- November 7, 1968Graduated University of Vienna- 1906Moved to Germany to work with Otto Hahn and other scientists- 1907Lienniz Prize Medal- 1924Ignaz Lieben Prize- 1925Professor at University of Berlin- 1926Fled Germany- 1938Enrico Fermi Award- 1966

At 23, she was the first woman to be accepted in to the University of Vienna's Physic program. Consequently, she was the second woman to recieve in physics from the University of Vienna, where she met Max Planck , the "father of the quantum theory". He invited her to participate in a post-doctoral study in Berlin. In 1907, she met Otto Hahn, a radio-chemist, for who she started working for as an assistant only to later on, in 1917, become the head of the Physics Section at KWI when Hahn became the Admisinstrative director. Through their work together they discoverd the atom Protactinium in 1918. She was the first woman asked to be lecturer at the University of Berlin in 1922, which she continued to do until Hitler came into power. In 1924, she was awarded the Leibniz Prize as well as the Ignaz Lieben Prize in 1925. Although her involvment in the research on physics done with Hahn was down played, the Nobel "mistake" as it was often reffered was resolved in 1966 when she, along with Hahn and Fritz Strassmann were awarded the Enrico Fermi Award.

Lasting Impact

Meitner is seen as the Mother of Nuclear Fission. He research played a large part in the discovery of nuclear fission. Einstein, who had once studied with Max Planck, had followed her research and the American fear that the Germans would have the atomic bomb before the allied nations did led to the "Manhattan Project" in America. Although she was not directly involved in the development of the first atomic bomb, it was her research that fueled the creation in the first place. Nuclear Fission itself is the process in which atoms split apart releasing energy, it is most commonly done with Uranium which is the most used fuel in nuclear plants. Nuclear power plants generate about 1/5 of U.S. electricity alone. Without Meitner's research in nuclear fission, there was so way that we would be able to produce the amount of electricity that we do in the United States today.


"Lise Meitner (1878 - 1968)." Lise Meitner. Web. 8 Oct. 2014. "Uranium (nuclear)." EIA Energy Kids -. Web. 8 Oct. 2014.Rife, Patricia. "Lise Meitner." Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia. 1 March 2009. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on October 8, 2014)

Lise Meitner:The Viennese Madame Currie




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