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Maria Goeppert-Mayer
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Scientist
    (June 28, 1906-February 20, 1972)
    Born in Katowice, Poland
    Winner of the 1963 Nobel Prize in Physics for her work on the nuclear shell model
    Received all her college education, including her doctorate, at the University of Gottingen where she studied under three Nobel Prize winners
    Her work explains why atoms are stable; basically the elements of the nucleus are spinning in relation to each other like the planets and the sun and this keeps the nucleus together
    When she and her husband first moved to the United States, she had a lot of trouble finding a job due to sexism.
    She was a life long science geek and eighth generation college professor.
    She said that 'Winning the prize wasn't half as exciting as doing the work.'
    Her Nobel prize winning work was a staggering leap forward in the study of the atom.
    Her doctoral thesis (written in 1931) on two photon absorption was so far ahead of its time that it was not confirmed experimentally until the 1960s.
    The two photon cross section is named the Goeppert-Mayer Unit in her honor.
    The University of Chicago, the University of California San Diego and the American Physical Society all have awards named after her.
    She and her family were smart enough to get out of Europe before it hit the fan.
    She also made major contributions to the development of the hydrogen bomb.
    She died tragically young at age 65.

Credit: tom_jeffords


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