Tuesday 26 June 2012

Lise Meitner in Bramley

The story of Lise Meitner is pretty well known: the physicist who has the primary claim on the identification of the principle of nuclear fission, whose male co-worker Otto Hahn got the Nobel prize for it. Meitner and Hahn had earlier isolated the element Proactinium (91), and in later life she did an enormous amount to support female scientists. Ruth Sime has written a very good biography.

It's no secret that she is buried in Bramley, Hampshire. If you go looking for the grave, you'll find it in the plot behind the churchyard proper, halfway down on the right beside the footpath. The stone is getting hard to read, but records Lise Meitner, 1878-1968, A physicist who never lost her humanity.

The citizens of Bramley must be proud of her, as a residential street on the north of the village is named after her. Be sure to visit Meitner Close.

Meitnerium (Mt, 109) is named after her - perhaps a better memorial all round?

1 comment:

  1. It could say "Oppenheimer's right hand woman", ie. that she achieved something Real against the facists. But she chose not to take up the sword and is now tucked away in some anonymous grave, separated from the Hebrew community both in life and in death. One wonders if Frish chose the inscription or simply the lawyer who executed the will followed instruction. - TEF