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Lise Meitner and the discovery of nuclear fission

Vendredi 22 novembre 2019 11:00 - Duree : 1 heure
Lieu : Seminar Room 7/8 - ILL 1, 71 avenue des Martyrs, Grenoble

Orateur : Daniela REYGADAS (ILL, 71, avenue des Martyrs – 38042 Grenoble Cedex 9 – France)

This year we are celebrating the 80th anniversary of a discovery that not only had a huge impact on physics but also shaped the history of the XXth century. In 1939 a team formed by Lise Meitner, Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassman discovered nuclear fission. The team conducted experiments in Berlin, that consisted in bombarding uranium with neutrons. At the end of 1938 Hahn and Strassman found barium isotopes among the decay products. Meitner, who by then had been forced to flee Nazi regime, explained the results with the help of her nephew Otto Frisch. Meitner and Frisch concluded that the uranium nucleus was in fact splitting into two lighter fragments after having absorbed a neutron, naming the new process nuclear fission. In 1944, Hahn was awarded the Nobel prize in chemistry for the discovery of fission. Despite being essential in the discovery Lise’s contribution was not acknowledged.

The seminar will discuss the scientific and historical climate that lead to the discovery of fission. A particular focus will be given to Lise Meitner’s scientific career and her vital contribution in the discovery. Meitner dedicated her life to scientific research and was a pioneer in nuclear physics. However, being a women and due to the political situation of the time, her achievements had been ignored for years after her death.

For 80 years, nuclear fission has had numerous applications ranging from weapons, providing electricity and even as a neutron source to the ILL reactor ! However, some fundamental aspects of the nuclear fission process still remain unexplained. A brief review of what is currently known about the fission mechanism as well as some of the remaining challenges will be presented.

Contact : lugiez@ill.fr

Discipline évènement : (Physique)
Entité organisatrice : (ILL)
Nature évènement : (Séminaire)
Evènement répétitif : (General ILL Seminar - College 3)
Site de l'évènement : Polygone scientifique

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