By Joseph P. Ferry, Chelsea House Publishers, Jill Sideman
A biography of Maria Goeppert Mayer, a physicist who contributed to the improvement of the atomic bomb and who, in 1963, used to be cowinner of the Nobel Prize in Physics for her paintings at the nuclear shell version conception.
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Extra info for Maria Goeppert Mayer: Physicist (Women in Science)
She even thought of marrying him. But marriage would mean leaving Goettingen, deserting her mother and her homeland; America was an unknown and frightening world. Still, her chances of becoming a university professor in Germany were slim, and they might be better in the mysterious America. After a time, Frau Goeppert noticed that her daughter and her boarder were spending a great deal of time together and that Maria was neglecting her schoolwork. ” (Dash, Life, 261) THE DISSERTATION Maria had completed much of her work on a quantummechanical effect in atoms that Max Born had assigned to her as a dissertation problem, but the work still had to be organized and written up.
In fact, she missed Germany terribly. She waited anxiously for the ocean liners that brought news and letters from home. Although she had no interest in politics while in Goettingen, she searched the papers for news about German elections. When the Metropolitan Opera performed German works, she sat by the radio and enjoyed the lyrics as much as the music. A German movie, even a bad one, would bring tears to her eyes. “It’s terrible but the longer one is away from Germany, the more patriotic one becomes,” Maria Mayer wrote in one of her letters to her mother.
In fact, Joe had been asked to work on this secret weapon very early in its development. He’d refused because he couldn’t take it seriously. Joe was convinced an atomic weapon could not be developed in less than 20 or 30 years. ” (Dash, Life, 296) Maria spent close to four years separated from Joe, except for some weekends. The absence weighed heavily on her. Her passion for research, which began during the war years, grew out of her sense of duty to her new country, and out of her increasing loneliness, which was highlighted by the pain and shame of being a German living in the United States.