11 HIST 07.03.03

From: Henny Bork, NBI, Copenhagen (BORK@nbivms.nbi.dk)
Date: Fri Feb 21 2003 - 11:10:08 MET

 The Niels Bohr Archive's                    Friday 7 March 2003 at 10.15
 History of Science Seminar                  Auditorium A, Niels Bohr Institute
                                             Blegdamsvej 17, Copenhagen  

                         Ruth Lewin Sime
                      Sacramento City College

          Lise Meitner and the Discovery of Nuclear Fission

 When the discovery of nuclear fission was first reported in 1939, it
 appeared that the chemists Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassmann performed the
 crucial experiments, while the physicists Lise Meitner and Otto Frisch
 provided the first theoretical explanation. Ever since, historical
 accounts have tended to emphasize that divide, as did the award of the
 Nobel Prize in chemistry to Hahn alone. But history and the published
 record can be deceptive, and Nobel committees can make mistakes. In this
 talk, I will show how Meitner and nuclear physics were as crucial to the
 fission discovery as chemistry, and that the attribution for the
 discovery was distorted by Meitner's forced emigration, the political
 conditions in Nazi Germany, and the widespread "forgetting" of the
 postwar period.

 Ruth Lewin Sime is author of the much-acclaimed book, Lise Meitner: A
 Life in Physics (The University of California Press, 1996).

Henny Bork                Email:             bork@nbi.dk
Niels Bohr Institute
Blegdamsvej 17            Phone:             +45 35325296
DK-2100 Copenhagen        Fax:               +45 35325016

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