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The Religious Affiliation of Physicist
Lise Meitner
formulated the concept of nuclear fission with Otto Frisch


Lise Meitner was a Jewish-born convert to Protestant Christianity.

From: Merry Maisel and Laura Smart, "Lise Meitner: A Battle for Ultimate Truth" article, copyright 1997, from "Women in Science: A Selection of 16 Significant Contributors" section of The San Diego Supercomputer Center website (http://www.sdsc.edu/ScienceWomen/meitner.html; viewed 26 September 2005):

In 1945, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry to Otto Hahn for the discovery of nuclear fission, overlooking the physicist Lise Meitner, who collaborated with him in the discovery and gave the first theoretical explanation of the fission process.

While Meitner was celebrated after World War II as "the mother of the atomic bomb," she had no role in it, and her true scientific contribution became, if anything, more obscure in subsequent years...

Lise Meitner was the third of eight children of a Viennese Jewish family. In 1908, two of Lise's sisters became Catholics and she herself became a Protestant. While conscientious, these conversions counted for nothing after Hitler came to power...

Doctorate in hand, she went to Berlin in 1907 to study with Max Planck. She began to work with a chemist, Otto Hahn, she doing the physics and he the chemistry of radioactive substances. The collaboration continued for 30 years, each heading a section in Berlin's Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Chemistry. Together and independently they achieved important results in the new field of nuclear physics... the separation of the former collaborators and Lise's scientific and actual exile led to the Nobel committee's failure to understand her part in the work. Later Hahn rationalized her exclusion and others buried her role ever deeper. The Nobel "mistake," never acknowledged, was partly rectified in 1966, when Hahn, Meitner, and Strassmann were awarded the U.S. Fermi Prize.

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Webpage created 26 September 2005. Last modified 26 September 2005.
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