Lise Meitner (1878-1968)
Digital Illustration, 24" x 32", 2022
Lisa Meitner was the physicist responsible for the discovery of nuclear fission and the element protactinium. In 1938, Meitner “bombed” Uranium atoms with neutrons, causing her and her colleague Otto Hahn to wonder if the nucleus was a liquid counter to prevailing wisdom at the time. This led to the discovery of “nuclear fission”, the creation of a powerful amount of energy when a neutron hits and splits a liquid nucleus.
During the time of her and Hahn’s experiments in Berlin, Meitner was forced to flee to Sweden after Austria was annexed by Germany. In her absence, a Nobel Prize for Chemistry was awarded to Hahn in 1944, with no acknowledgement of Meitner.