Lise Meitner (LEE zeh MITE nuhr) was born in Vienna, Austria November 7, 1878. She was the third child of eight children in the family. Her father Philipp, who was a lawyer, hired tutors to teach the children, and she received a good background in mathematics. Music was important to the family, and all the children learned to play the piano. One of her brothers even became a composer and concert pianist.
The Meitner children were taught to listen to their parents, but to think for themselves.
Her formal schooling as a child ended when she was fourteen years old, but she still wanted to learn. She asked her father if she could study at the University of Vienna. However, the classes there were closed to women and Jews. She, being a woman from a Jewish family, was excluded. Her parents insisted she first learn how to be a teacher before she pursued a higher education. They felt she needed to have some way to support herself financially.
Though Jewish, Meitner converted to Protestantism when she became an adult along with some of the other members of her family.
In 1899 the university began to admit women even if they lacked a high school diploma. She began to prepare for the entrance exam which was called the Matura. She finished an eight year study in two years. She took the exam and passed. Fourteen women took the test and only four passed. Meitner was one of them. She was able to enroll and attend physics* classes with the men. She was 23 years old. Five years later she had a PhD in Physics.
She went to the University of Berlin where she, as a woman, was not allowed to use the same lab as the men for her experiments.
While in Berlin she worked with Otto Hahn. She and Hahn discovered a radioactive* element and named it protactinium*. She did most of the work because Otto had to serve in World War 1. Hahn, however, received all the credit for the work. She asked him repeatedly to give her the recognition due her, but it never happened.
In 1944 Hahn would receive the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the interpretation of nuclear* fission*. Meitner was not mentioned. Some say this was the greatest oversight ever made by the Nobel prize committee.
She stayed in Berlin as long as she dared, but fled the Nazis because they were about to arrest her. After 30 years in Berlin she went to Sweden.
Sometimes she would write scientific articles and just sign them "L. Meitner". The publisher thought she was a man. When he learned "L. Meitner" was a woman, he quit publishing her articles.
Model, 1938 nuclear fission experiment
She had named the process on which she was working nuclear fission. Without her knowledge other scientists built on her work and called it the "Manhattan Project" which was actually the development of the atomic bomb. She refused to help with the development of the weapon. Meitner did not know the end result of her discovery would lead to weapons of mass destruction. She wanted her discoveries to be used for peaceful purposes. To her dismay, her research resulted in the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan to bring about the end of World War 2.
During her 60 years of work in the field of atomic physics she wrote 128 articles, served on scientific commissions, and served on the United Nations committee on atomic energy.
For many years she worked with her nephew, Otto Robert Frisch who was 34 years younger.
She and Eleanor Roosevelt in 1945 pledged to work together for world peace.
Albert Einstein affectionately called her "our German Madame Curie".
Two years before she died she received the Enrico Fermi* Award along with her co-workers Strassman and Hahn. In 1997, twenty-nine years after her death, the chemical element 109, the heaviest known element was named Meitnerium* in her honor.
On her gravestone is written "A physicist who never lost her humanity".
This biography by Patsy Stevens, a retired teacher, was written in 2008.
Many of the facts in this story were found in the book Lise Meitner and the Dawn of the Nuclear Age by Patricia Rife
A frequent question:
"Who wrote this biography and when was it written?"
Look on this Reference Citations Chart.
information at UCLA
Lise Meitner,A Life in Physics
By Ruth Lewin Sime
Naming the Chemical Elements (audio)
Engines of Our Ingenuity.
contributions and honors
From Word Central's Student Dictionary
by Merriam - Webster
(Pronunciation note: the schwa sound is shown by &)
a science that deals with matter and energy and their actions upon each other
in the fields of mechanics, heat, light, electricity, sound, and the atomic nucleus
the giving off of rays of energy or particles by the breaking apart of atoms of certain elements (as uranium)
a shiny metallic radioactive element of short life
of, relating to, or using the atomic nucleus as nuclear reactions,
being or relating to energy or a weapon that involves a nuclear reaction
such as nuclear energy, a nuclear war, or nuclear power plants
the splitting of an atomic nucleus resulting in the release of large amounts of energy
Pronunciation: mite-NIR-e &m
a short-lived radioactive element produced artificially
Function: proper name
Enrico 1901-1954 American (Italian-born) physicist; Nobel Prize winner (1938)
Berlin Breakout, TimeFlyz, Volume 3
By Ben Avery / Zonderkidz
They're chasing a time-traveling spider, trying to stop him from kidnapping more geniuses and scientists. After failing a few times, the TimeFlyz and Laurel (their human companion who can shrink down to their size as well as fly when at that size) wind up in Nazi Germany and find themselves with a double mission. Lise Meitner, a Jewish physicist working at Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Chemistry, is the spider Darchon's next target, but only if the Nazis don't get to her first! This series is packed with action and intrigue, and this issue is no exception.
Exploring the World of Physics: From Simple Machines to Nuclear Energy
By John Hudson Tiner / New Leaf Publishing Group
Do avoid learning or teaching physics at all costs? Exploring the World of Physics is designed specifically for those who think it's much too complicated for them! Each concept is clearly explained with text that speaks in laymans' terms, and illustrates each concept with examples from history and real life. Learn about the laws, principles and effects of physics throughout our universe that students from elementary to high school can understand. 158 indexed pages, softcover.
God's Design for the Physical World: Machines & Motion
By Richard & Debbie Lawrence / Answers In Genesis
The biblically based "Gods Design for the Physical World" series was designed by homeschoolers for homeschoolers! Machines & Motion explores mechanical forces, simple machines, kinematics, dynamics, circular & periodic motion, and the use of machines while teaching about simple machines, such as levers and inclined planes, and the laws of motion. Designed for grades 3-8, full-color photos, diagrams, illustrations, special features and fun facts make learning about every aspect of science fun, while key concepts are continually reinforced and explored through chapter review and activities. Color-coded by age group, chapter reviews are separated for 3rd-5th grade and 6th-8th grade students to quickly find their assignments.
This easy-to-use curriculum is ideal for anyone who wants to teach earth & space science from a God-centered, creationist point of view. This is one student book of three in the "Gods Design for the Physical World" Series; each contains 35 lessons with one final project to merge all the lessons together. At the pace of 3 lessons a week (approximately 30-45 minutes each), you can cover the 3-book series (other books sold separately) within a year. 122 partially reproducible pages, softcover with glossary and index. Grades 3-8. NKJV Scripture used.
The sold-separately God's Design for the Physical World: Teacher Supplement & Student CD-ROM features an introduction, appendices, answers to all three book's questions, worksheets, quizzes, and includes the Student Supplement CD-Rom with printable student worksheets & tests.
This Third Edition features many improvements! Here are some of the updated changes made to this series:
Full-color lessons Vocabulary lists in each lesson Glossary Updated content where appropriate Additional pictures, illustrations, and diagrams Challenge section (for grades 6-8) added in all the books
Nuclear Fission - Part 1
You Tube presentation describes Meitner's role
Most Recent Comments ( See more comments on this page ) 2012-05-02
This is very good info. Just enough i need for my project...........Thanks and god bless you
for my school project about inventors i chose her because she's women who does motivate me and i respect all her works for me she's an idol
Lise Meitner should have been more honored while she was alive since she is an am,azing role model for women. In that time being a woman was like a sin, it was too hard. I am proyd to be doing a project about since I knew nothing about her & now I do. In the end, she got what she deserved but she doesnt know it...or maybe she does...
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