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Lise Meitner: A Life in Physics

4.31  ·  Rating details ·  103 ratings  ·  17 reviews
Lise Meitner (1878-1968) was a pioneer of nuclear physics and co-discoverer, with Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassmann, of nuclear fission. Braving the sexism of the scientific world, she joined the prestigious Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Chemistry and became a prominent member of the international physics community. Of Jewish origin, Meitner fled Nazi Germany for Stockholm in ...more
Paperback, 540 pages
Published June 27th 1997 by University of California Press (first published January 1st 1996)
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Gabrielle Gouch
Mar 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is a brilliant book. I have not enjoyed a book so much for years.

It is the story of one of the most outstanding women scientists of the last century. A girl in Vienna in the late 1890’s, with an interest in maths and science, whose best prospects would have been becoming a French teacher, Lise Meitner beats the odds and becomes a world calibre physicist. Sime’s masterly narrative describes the incredible difficulties she had to overcome, first to get an education and later to be accepted b
...more
Malini Sridharan
Jun 15, 2007 rated it it was amazing
More than just a biography of scientist. Highlights aspects of the world wars, anti-semitism, and feminism in europe that are not often discussed. Loved it.
Mike
Mar 11, 2010 rated it really liked it
Overall, a compelling and useful biography of a less-known but very important physicist. Dr. Sime is a gifted writer, too, as well as a scientist in her own right. If you're interested in physics, the history of the physical sciences, or female scientists, it's a very good book to read.
MaryFrances
May 28, 2008 rated it really liked it
Loved this one. Had a long section in the middle that was very technical and I had to skim over that but the story of her life, contribution to physics, and they people she spent time with was facinating. She was royally screwed by her friend and collegue but handled it with grace
Marc
Feb 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
brilliant...absolutely riveting pages detailing her escape from Nazi Germany
Miko Murray
Dec 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: austria, physics
4.5*

Really great book, Lise Meitner was a very inspiring woman, not just simply for the fact she was an incredibly great physicist, but also due to her ability to stay firm in her beliefs without destroying the relationships she had with others. Not an easy thing to achieve.

She lived through the horrors of the two world wars - it was very saddening to read about, but, in todays climate, not an unwelcome reminder of how things can get extremely out of hand. There was a lot of insight into how it
...more
Jonna Higgins-Freese
Sep 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
I didn't realize how much I didn't know about radiation: had to turn to Wikipedia to learn more about alpha, beta, and gamma radiation in order to understand Meitner's work in the 20s and 30s. It doesn't help that the way in which it was understood then was different from now, so trying to slot those two things together in my mind
Patrick
Dec 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating both for the scientific thrills and the slightly horrifying details of the breakdown of civilization as Europe enters WW2. It is fascinating to see how hard it was to grasp the truth of nuclear fission, and the details of how extremely difficult the lab techniques in radiochemistry were.
Sue Law
Jan 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography, physics
An excellent, clearly written biography of one of the great physicists of the early nuclear era. As well as her personal life, this book gives a thorough, clearly explained descriptions of her scientific works and achievements.
A real eye-opener.
Elisa
Mar 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
A bit long and can get very technical more in a textbook fashion than novel/biography.
Starburst
Jun 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I thought most of it was very good- it did get pretty technical at times, and I could have done without the long research descriptions, although I admire the author for putting in so much effort. Overall, excellent. Also, the actual book is only around 380 pages- the rest are appendices and notes.
Alejandra
Apr 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kickass-ladies
Lise Meitner, one of the key figures in the discovery of fission, would be more widely remembered in history if she had not been Austrian-Jewish and made her break through findings in exile, right before World War II. There is plenty to admire in her journey, from her pioneering entrance to university formerly out of reach to women, to leading the physics section of the KWI.

This books provides a very engaging overview of her life, bringing Lise to life, along with the historical events that mark
...more
Roger Blakesley
This book covered all of the necessary parts. And I think Lise would have approved. But I think it was somewhat padded with atomic history. I learned a lot. Amazing, for instance how long it took to distinguish elements by (Z) the number of protons instead of by mass. All that is great for atomic history enthusiasts, but may be dull for those who are not.

Lise was clearly the most ripped - off Nobel Prize non winner in history. But she really seemed to shake that off. Physics was her love and the
...more
Gina
Dec 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Well-researched account of Meitner's life and the research that led up to the discovery of nuclear fission. It's sympathetic even in taking a stance on the political events and actions that shaped Meitner's career and later life, presenting a clear picture of her scientific achievements and tracing the reasons why they remain so little-known. Moreover an inspiring read about a woman who was one of the first in science, going on to become a brilliant pioneer in nuclear physics.

The science-heavy
...more
Roger Boyle
Dec 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Stunning story, little told. How unjust was all THAT?!
Doris Raines
Apr 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Good. Book
Wm
Mar 24, 2008 rated it it was ok
I loved the story of this woman's life presented in this book, but the description of the physics was weak. I had to turn elsewhere for that. Overall, it was a difficult read, but worth it.
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