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Lise Meitner

How physicist Lise Meitner unlocked the science of the atom bomb after a terrifying escape from Hitler's Germany.

Philip Ball reveals the dramatic tale of Lise Meitner, the humanitarian physicist of Jewish descent, who unlocked the science of the atom bomb after a terrifying escape from Hitler's Germany. One of the most brilliant nuclear scientists working in Germany her flight from terror cost Hitler’s regime dearly.

In the early 20th Century it was barely possible for women to work in science at all and yet Einstein once called Meitner Germany’s own Marie Curie. It was Meitner’s insight that began the nuclear age and her story remains ever relevant, as the threat of nuclear conflict lies once again over the world.

Philip Ball talks to historian Dr Patricia Fara about Lise Meitner and her research and to Patricia Lewis of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons or ICAN, based in Geneva, which this year was awarded the Nobel Peace prize for its work in trying to reverse nuclear proliferation, about Meitner’s legacy today.

Picture: Lise Meitner, Credit: Central Press/Getty Images

Available now

27 minutes

Broadcasts

  • Mon 8 Jan 2018 20:32GMT
  • Mon 8 Jan 2018 21:32GMT
  • Tue 9 Jan 2018 05:32GMT
  • Tue 9 Jan 2018 07:32GMT
  • Tue 9 Jan 2018 15:32GMT
  • Tue 9 Jan 2018 18:32GMT
  • Wed 10 Jan 2018 03:32GMT
  • Sun 14 Jan 2018 02:32GMT
  • Mon 15 Jan 2018 01:32GMT

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