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In this fascinating biography, Patricia Rife interprets both the life and times of Lise Meitner (1878–1968), providing a rich background of the scientific discoveries and social milieu that affected the research, events, personalities, and politics of 20th century quantum physics. Rife asks the central question of why, given the priority evidence of Meitner's role in the interpretation of nuclear fission, was she too not awarded the Nobel Prize?
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"A story of one of the half dozen most remarkable women of the 20th century."
―John Archibald Wheeler
"The dramatic tale of the discovery of nuclear fission on the eve of WWII...not just a story of ideas...but also of the social and intellectual milieu in which these ideas were developed. It is also the story of how a shy, self-effacing young woman, through talent and hard work, became a world-class scientist...Rife tells this story very well."
―The Antioch Review
"The particular merit of Rife’s biography of Austrian physicist Meitner is that it places her life and work within the historical context...It is comprehensive, generally clearly written...and appropriate for undergraduate students. Just enough science is included as to make clear the significance of her work...Extensive bibliography, informative footnotes."
In this captivating biography, Patricia Rife interprets both the life and times of Lise Meitner (1878-1968), the female physicist at the heart of the discovery of nuclear fission. She was a colleague and friend of many of the giants of 20th century physics: M. Planck, her Berlin mentor, A. Einstein, M. von Laue, Madame M. Curie, J. Chadwick, W. Pauli, and N. Bohr. Meitner was the first woman to earn a Ph.D. in physics at the University of Vienna, a pioneer in the research of radioactive processes and, together with her nephew Otto Robert Frisch, an interpreter of the process of nuclear fission in 1938. Yet at the end of World War II, her colleague of thirty years, radiochemist Otto Hahn alone was awarded the 1944 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the "discovery" of nuclear fission -- a discovery based on years of research in which Meitner was directly involved before her secret escape from Nazi Germany.Review:
From the reviews:
"Lise Meitner comes to life as author Rife skillfully weaves social, political, and scientific events into a well-researched and documented work. Lists of Meitner’s awards and publications and an extensive bibliography complete this excellent book."―Association of Women in Science Magazine
"The particular merit of Rife’s biography of Austrian physicist Meitner is that it places her life and work within the historical context, successfully combining her own achievement as the discoverer of nuclear fission with the work of other eminent physicists... It is comprehensive, generally clearly written...and appropriate for undergraduate students. Just enough science is included as to make clear the significance of her work and its connection with the course of physics in the 20th century... Extensive bibliography, informative footnotes."―CHOICE
"The dramatic tale of the discovery of nuclear fission on the eve of WWII has been told before, but never with such attention to the barriers formed by gender and racial discrimination... This is not just a story of ideas leading to nuclear fission, but also of the social and intellectual milieu in which these ideas were developed. It is also the story of how a shy, self-effacing young woman, through talent and hard work, became a world-class scientists... Rife tells this story very well."―The Antioch Review
"Rife has produced an exciting book, which reads like a novel and she gives justice to Meitner’s life full of science and human stories...[The] book is a beautiful tribute to an outstanding scientist; it has a lot to teach us about our world; and it is a great read. I warmly recommend it to everyone interested in science and in history."―Structural Chemistry
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