Friday, November 09, 2012

Lise Meitner, physicist who worked on radioactivity and nuclear physics

Lise Meitner From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Lise Meitner (7 November 1878 – 27 October 1968) was an Austrian, later Swedish, physicist who worked on radioactivity and nuclear physics.[4] Meitner was part of the team that discovered nuclear fission, an achievement for which her colleague Otto Hahn was awarded the Nobel Prize. [5] Meitner is often mentioned as one of the most glaring examples of women's scientific achievement overlooked by the Nobel committee.[6][7][8] A 1997 Physics Today study concluded that Meitner's omission was "a rare instance in which personal negative opinions apparently led to the exclusion of a deserving scientist" from the Nobel.[9] Element 109, Meitnerium, is named in her honour.

Meitner was born into a Jewish family as the third of eight children in Vienna... As an adult, she converted to Christianity, following Lutheranism,[1][15] and being baptized in 1908.

When Adolf Hitler came to power in 1933, Meitner was acting director of the Institute for Chemistry. Although she was protected by her Austrian citizenship, all other Jewish scientists, including her nephew Otto Frisch, Fritz Haber, Leó Szilárd and many other eminent figures, were dismissed or forced to resign from their posts...

After the Anschluss, her situation became desperate. In July 1938, Meitner, with help from the Dutch physicists Dirk Coster and Adriaan Fokker, escaped to the Netherlands. She was forced to travel under cover to the Dutch border, where Coster persuaded German immigration officers that she had permission to travel to the Netherlands. She reached safety, though without her possessions. Meitner later said that she left Germany forever with 10 marks in her purse.

Émilie du Châtelet

Advocacy of kinetic energy

In it, she combined the theories of Gottfried Leibniz and the practical observations of Willem 's Gravesande to show that the energy of a moving object is proportional not to its velocity, as had previously been believed by Newton, Voltaire and others, but to the square of its velocity. (In classical physics, the correct formula is Ek = 1⁄2mv², where Ek is the kinetic energy of an object, m its mass and v its velocity.)

[edit]Translation and commentary on Newton's Principia

In 1749, the year of her death, she completed the work regarded as her outstanding achievement: her translation into French, with her commentary, of Newton’s Principia Mathematica, including her derivation of the notion of conservation of energy from its principles of mechanics. Published ten years after her death, today du Châtelet's translation of Principia Mathematica is still the standard translation of the work into French.

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