Cracking the mystery of the structure of reality is fun also for women.

## Ida Noddack (1896 – 1978)

She was the first to mention the idea of nuclear fission, which means that the nucleus can break into lighter elements, in 1934, on an article about Fermi’s observations of the bombardment of uranium with neutrons.

With her husband Walter Noddack, she discovered element 75, rhenium. She was nominated three times for the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

## Lise Meitner (1878 – 1968)

Lise Meitner and Otto Hahn discovered nuclear fission in 1938. But Otto Hahn got alone the Nobel prize for this discovery, in 1944.

## Maria Goeppert Mayer (1906 – 1972)

Maria Goeppert Mayer developed a mathematical model for the structure of nuclear shells, which she published in 1950. She shared one-half of the 1963 Nobel Prize for Physics with J. Hans D. Jensen, who made a similar work independently.

## Chien-Shiung Wu (1912 – 1997)

Chien-Shiung Wu provided the experimental proof that electrons have a preferential direction in a nuclear reaction known as beta decay.

This confirmed a theory of Tsung-Dao Lee and Chen-Ning Yang, and gave them a Nobel Prize in Physics in 1957. Wu was excluded.

## Sau Lan Wu (1960 – …)

Sau Lan Wu contributed to the discovery of the particle called “J/psi meson” which led to the experimental verification of “Gluon” and “Charm Quark” (constituents of the atom)

## Mileva Einstein

Mileva Einstein deserves a special mention because she studied and worked together with her husband Albert Einstein when he published his most remarkable work, including the theory of general relativity.

In a letter to his wife, he writes:

How happy and proud I will be when the two of us together will have brought our work on relative motion to a victorious conclusion!

(Albert to Mileva, March 27, 1901)

## More famous women physicists

Melissa Franklin: While working at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Chicago, her team found some of the first evidences for the existence of the top quark.

Lisa Randall: Her research includes elementary particles, fundamental forces and extra dimensions of space. She contributed to the Randall–Sundrum model (a model of cosmological forces), first published in 1999 with Raman Sundrum. She published successful books of particle physics and cosmology. See on youtube one of her talk about her book “Knocking on Heaven’s Door”

Eva Silverstein: She is best known for her work on early universe cosmology, developing the structure of inflation and its range of signatures, as well as extensive contributions to string theory and gravitational physics.

Other lists of famous women physicists:

“19 Women Leading Math and Physics”, by Natalie Wolchover, 2017

“These Women Should Win a Nobel Prize in Physics”, by Gabriel Popkin, 2014

Wikipedia – Category: Women physicists