If you’re a fan of physics, then you’ve definitely heard of some big names like Einstein, Bohr, and Fermi. But have you heard of Lise Meitner? You should have, because this woman was a total badass and made some major contributions to the field of physics.
Born in Austria in 1878, Lise Meitner was one of the few women allowed to study physics at the University of Vienna. Despite facing numerous obstacles and discrimination due to her gender, Meitner persevered and eventually earned her Ph.D. in 1906. She then went on to work with some of the biggest names in physics, including Max Planck and Einstein.
But Meitner’s most significant contribution came in the 1930s, when she and her colleague Otto Hahn discovered the process of nuclear fission. In case you’re not a physics buff, let me explain: nuclear fission is the process of splitting the nucleus of an atom into smaller parts, releasing a ton of energy in the process. This discovery was a major breakthrough and laid the foundation for the development of nuclear power and weapons.
So why haven’t you heard of Lise Meitner? Well, it’s because she was kind of robbed of the credit she deserved. In 1944, Hahn was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the discovery of nuclear fission, while Meitner was left out. Some say it’s because she was a woman, while others claim it was because she was forced to flee Nazi-occupied Austria and couldn’t attend the Nobel ceremonies. Either way, it’s a total shame that Meitner didn’t get the recognition she deserved.
But let’s not focus on the negative. Lise Meitner was a trailblazer and an inspiration to all aspiring female scientists. She proved that women can excel in a field that was (and still is) dominated by men. And she made some major contributions to the world of physics that will never be forgotten.
So next time you’re talking about the greats of physics, don’t forget to include Lise Meitner on the list. She may not have gotten the Nobel Prize, but she’s definitely a Nobel-worthy scientist.