Lise Meitner and the Dawn of the Nuclear Age

Authors: Rife, Patricia

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About this book

"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."

—Choice

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.

Reviews

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


Table of contents (15 chapters)

  • Choosing the Path of Physics: 1878–1906

    Rife, Patricia

    Pages 1-19

  • Berlin: 1907–1909

    Rife, Patricia

    Pages 20-39

  • New Explorations at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute: 1909–1914

    Rife, Patricia

    Pages 40-56

  • World War I and Its Consequences: 1914–1920

    Rife, Patricia

    Pages 57-80

  • Shadows Lengthen: The Struggle Out of the Causal Chain, 1920–1932

    Rife, Patricia

    Pages 81-107

Buy this book

Softcover $109.99
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-0-8176-4559-5
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.

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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Lise Meitner and the Dawn of the Nuclear Age
Authors
Copyright
2007
Publisher
Birkhäuser Basel
Copyright Holder
Birkhäuser Boston
Softcover ISBN
978-0-8176-4559-5
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XVIII, 432
Number of Illustrations and Tables
35 b/w illustrations
Topics