Physics Colloquium and BWIS Speaker: Heinz-Eberhard Mahnke: Remembering Science Pioneer Lise Meitner, 2/15

Lise Meitner

Lise Meitner

Heinz-Eberhard Mahnke, honorary professor in physics at Freie Universität in Berlin, Germany, will give a talk, “Remembering Lise Meitner: A Physicist Who Never Lost Her Humanity,” at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory on Wednesday, Feb. 15, at 4 p.m. in the Physics Department (Bldg. 510) Large Seminar Room and via Zoom. This talk is sponsored by Brookhaven Science Associates and Brookhaven Women in Science (BWIS).

In this talk, Mahnke will explore how Meitner’s work influenced the science of today and the practical applications to have come out of her research and the lessons her life teaches about overcoming considerable obstacles such as exclusion and persecution.

Attendees are encouraged to join in person. Complimentary food and refreshments will be provided, including wine and cheese following the talk.

During his visit to Brookhaven Lab, Mahnke will also give a talk for the Physics Department Colloquium series on Tuesday, Feb. 14, at 3:30 p.m. in the Large Seminar Room. That talk will be on "Cultural heritage research using x-rays and neutrons."

About Lise Meitner

Lise Meitner, twice a migrant, voluntarily and un-voluntarily, was the first woman who became a professor of physics in Germany and one of those responsible for the discovery of the element of protactinium in 1917. In 1938, Meitner and her nephew, the physicist Otto Robert Frisch, discovered nuclear fission. She was praised by Albert Einstein as the "German Marie Curie."

Also known as the longtime physics partner of famed chemist Otto Hahn, their experiments resulted in the discovery of nuclear fission. While Otto Hahn was awarded the Nobel prize in chemistry for this discovery, Lise Meitner was not. She should be remembered for her contributions to three other major science topics at her time, which still are topics of today's research: beta decay and the neutrino, Auger- and conversion electrons, and superheavy elements ("transuranium elements").

About the Speaker

Heinz-Eberhard Mahnke

Heinz-Eberhard Mahnke

Heinz-Eberhard Mahnke is honorary professor of the Physics Department at Freie Universität Berlin. He was a senior scientist at Helmholtz-Center Berlin for Materials and Energy and visiting professor at Centre de Recherche et de Restauration des Musées de France of the Palais du Louvre in Paris in 2009.

Starting with basic research in nuclear physics and solid-state physics using nuclear techniques, especially in connection with ion beams, he moved into interdisciplinary research on cultural heritage using ions and x-rays from synchrotron sources (e.g., applied to the investigation of stained glass).

His recent interest is to virtually unfold/unroll papyri by tomographic techniques to get access to the hidden texts. His activities focus on the promotion of interdisciplinary research on cultural heritage, best manifested by his successful incorporation of this field into the highly prestigious Gordon Research Conference, with the first conference successfully held in 2012, running biennially since then. He presently is a fellow of the Einstein Center Chronoi.

Heinz-Eberhard Mahnke initiated the theater production “Kernfragen: Gedenken an Lise Meitner” (“Core Issues: In Memoriam Lise Meitner”) and organized and coordinated the open lecture series on Lise Meitner at the Freie Universität in 2018 and 2019.

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