M is for Lise Meitner – Physics #AtoZChallenge

M is for Lise Meitner – Physics

++ A to Z of Notable Women in STEM ++

Lise Meitner (1878 – 1968) was a physicist who studied radioactivity and nuclear physics.

Lise Meitner in 1946
Lise Meitner in 1946

Dr. Meitner with Otto Hahn led a group that discovered nuclear fission of uranium. The results of their work was published in 1939. Fission is the splitting of the atomic nucleus, which releases huge amounts of energy. This is the basis of nuclear bombs and nuclear reactors that generate much of the electricity that we use n our homes today.

Nuclear Fission of Uranium 235
Nuclear Fission of Uranium 235

In 1944, Otto Hahn was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for “his discovery of the fission of heavy atomic nuclei.” Dr. Meitner and their colleague Otto Robert Frisch were overlooked for this award despite their great contributions to the project. This exclusion has been the topic of discussion over the years, and it appears clear that the Nobel jury failed to recognize and appreciate the nature of joint work among other complications.

You can read more about Dr. Meitner here.

See more notable women of STEM in my contribution to the April A to Z blogging challenge for 2016.

Add your own “M”-named women to the list in the comments below! Here’s another significant woman of STEM:

Christa McAuliffe – Teacher – Astronaut

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