AUTHORWiesner, Emilie / Settle, Frank
TITLEPolitics, Chemistry, and the Discovery of Nuclear Fission
PERIODICAL TITLEJournal of Chemical Education
DATE PUBLISHED2001
VOLUME NUMBER78
ISSUE NUMBER7
PAGE NUMBERS889-895
ISSN0021-9584
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This article describes the discovery of fission as an interesting scientific saga involving the fundamentals of chemistry and physics that was played out in the late 1930s on a European stage. Lise Meitner and Otto Hahn head a cast of characters that includes scientific notables Fritz Strassmann, Otto Frisch, James Chadwick, Enrico Fermi, Ida Noddack, Irene Curie, and Niels Bohr. The plot includes the scientific method, the interdependence of chemistry and physics, the influence of external politics, and human frailty. The events surrounding the discovery did not allow the scientists involved to receive equal recognition. Hahn received the Nobel Prize in Physics for the discovery while his co-workers Meitner and Strassman were ignored. According to the authors, the passage of time and extensive historical research have provided proper credit to Meitner and Strassmann.


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