Scientific American has a nice write-up of the theoretical physicist who discovered nuclear fission and was denied credit, yet assigned blame:
While the celebrity Meitner deserved was blatantly denied her, an undeserved association with the atomic bomb was bestowed. Meitner was outright opposed to nuclear weapons: “I will have nothing to do with a bomb!” Indeed, she was the only prominent Allied physicist to refuse an invitation to work on its construction at Los Alamos.
- 1878 born in Vienna, Austria, third of eight children in middle-class family
- 1892 at age 14 offered no more school, by 19th-century Austrian standards for girls. begins private lessons
- 1905 earns PhD in physics from University of Vienna
- 1907 moves to Berlin to access modern lab for research. denied her own lab because a woman, given an office in a basement closet, forced to use bathroom in a restaurant “down the street”
- 1908 publishes three papers
- 1909 publishes six papers
- 1917 given salary and independent physics position
- 1926 first woman in Germany to be made full professor
- 1934 intrigued by Fermi work, begins research into nuclear reaction of uranium
- 1938 Nazi regime forces her to leave Germany, because Jewish
- 1944 Nobel prize awarded to the Berlin man who ran the lab she used for experiments
Amazing to see how determined she was and how she blazed a trail for others to do good. And yet the things she did, men wouldn’t give her credit for, while the thing she opposed was blamed on her instead.