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Bust of Lisa Meitner (Vienna, Austria)

    Lisa Meitner (b. Vienna, Austria-Hungary, 1878 – d. 1968, Cambridge, United Kingdom) was known as the ‘German Marie Curie’ for her pioneering research in physics. After becoming the second woman from the University of Vienna to receive a doctorate, she went on to co-discover the process of nuclear fission and first isolate the element Protactinium (Pa). Although snubbed by the Noble Prize committee, her work heavily shaped the development of nuclear physics in the twentieth century. After studying at the Akademisches Gymnasium, Meitner entered the University of Vienna (where this landmark is located) in 1901 before she graduated and relocated to the Friedrich Wilhelm University in Berlin where she studied informally under Max Planck. She worked at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Chemistry up until the Austrian Anschluss forced her to flee from Nazi restrictions on Jewish scientists. She managed to escape via Copenhagen and settled in Stockholm after briefly considering a move to Cambridge, England, where she had also been offered a position at the Cavendish Laboratory. She did eventually relocate to Cambridge after her retirement in 1960. After touring the United States on more than one occasion, Meitner’s health began to fail and marked the decline to a life of supreme achievement and contribution to the understanding of the natural world. Today, an international scholarship for female academics is awarded in her name in Austria.

    More on the Lisa Meitner Society‘s website.

    Address: Universitätsring 1, 1010 Wien, Austria