Monday, October 27, 2008

On October 27

On this day in ...
... 1968 (40 years ago today), a month shy of her 90th birthday, Lise Meitner (right) died in Cambridge, England. The 3d of 8 children born into a Viennese family, Meitner surmounted "Austrian restrictions on female education" to enroll in 1901 at the University of Vienna, where she earned a doctorate in physics, then went to Berlin, where eventually she and a collaborator, Otto Hahn, "achieved important results in the new field of nuclear physics, competing with Irène Curie" and other scientists. The rise of Nazism forced Meitner to emigrate in 1938; this forced separation "led to the Nobel committee's failure to understand her part in the work" that she and Hahn did in the development of nuclear fission -- work for which he alone received the 1944 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. She has been otherwise recognized, however; as 1 example, the radioactive element Meitnerium (abbreviated Mt, No. 109 on the periodic table) was named after her. (photo credit)
... 1983 (25 years ago today), the U.N. General Assembly adopted a resolution demanding the retreating of all "foreign forces" from Cambodia (flag at left) -- a country then occupied by Vietnam.

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