November 7: The unofficial day of women in nuclear science?

November 7, 2022, 12:00PMNuclear News
Curie and Meitner (Photos: Wikicommons)

Marie Curie was born in Warsaw in 1867 on this day, 155 years ago. Exactly 11 years later, in 1878, Lise Meitner was born in Vienna. November 7 is also the date when, in 1911, the Swedish Royal Academy of Science decided to award Curie a second Nobel Prize for her 1898 discovery of the elements radium and polonium (coincidentally, her 44th birthday). Curie, who at age 36 had shared the 1903 Nobel Prize in Physics with her husband, Pierre Curie, and Henri Becquerel, later accepted the chemistry prize on December 10, 1911. She remains to this day the only person—man or woman—to receive two Nobel Prizes in two different fields of science. (Linus Pauling was also awarded Nobel Prizes in two categories: chemistry and peace.) On this unofficial day of women in nuclear science, let’s take a moment to acknowledge the fundamental discoveries of both Curie and Meitner.

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