Other Free Encyclopedias » Online Encyclopedia » Encyclopedia - Featured Articles » Contributed Topics from F-J

Hahn, Otto

meitner nuclear war radiochemical

(1879–1968) German radiochemist.

Like before him, Hahn originally was intended for a career in architecture, but this was overruled by his interest in chemistry, which he studied at Marburg. In 1904 he spent 6 months in London, which he much enjoyed and which introduced him, under guidance, to the then novel field of radiochemistry. Its attractions led him to spend the next year with at Montreal; by this time he had real radiochemical expertise, and had characterized several new radioisotopes.

Soon after his appointment in Berlin in 1906 he was joined by . As a woman she was denied access to the all-male laboratories and there was no separate radiochemical laboratory. Both problems were solved by conversion of a basement woodworking shop, in which Meitner as a physicist and Hahn as a chemist began a collaboration that was to last for 30 years. In 1912 the new Kaiser Wilhelm Institute opened at Berlin–Dahlem, Hahn was appointed head of a radiochemical section and Meitner joined him. Taking advantage of the absence of significant radioactive contamination in the new laboratory, Hahn began study of the very weak beta-emitters potassium and rubidium. Later he showed that this radioactive breakdown of rubidium (to an isotope of strontium) gives a method for dating some mineral deposits, as also does the conversion of potassium to argon. During the First World War both Hahn and Meitner were in war-related work (Hahn on gas warfare under ; Meitner as a nurse), but some research could be continued during their leaves and they discovered the new radioelement protactinium.

From 1934 Hahn became interested in discovery that slow neutrons could be captured by some atomic nuclei to give new, heavier, elements. Hahn, with Meitner and F Strassmann (1902–80), tried this with uranium, then the element with the heaviest known nucleus. However, by 1938 Meitner, being Jewish, was unsafe in Germany and with Hahn’s help escaped, settling in Sweden. Hahn sent to her the results of the work with uranium and it was she and her nephew who published the novel idea that nuclear fission had occurred and showed that Hahn’s explanation for these experiments was inadequate.

During the Second World War Hahn continued radiochemical work outside Germany’s nuclear weapon programme; after the war he was active in the cause of nuclear disarmament. Awarded the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 1944, his name is commemorated in the Hahn–Meitner Institute for Nuclear Research in Berlin, in another institute at Mainz, in Germany’s first nuclear ship the Otto Hahn and in the name (hahnium, Ha) officially given to the element of atomic number 108 by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry in 1994.

Hairstyles - USE OF WIGS., MEN’S., WOMEN’S., UNISEX STYLES., SHAVED., SOURCES [next] [back] Hadid, Zaha (1950–) - PERSONAL HISTORY, BIOGRAPHICAL HIGHLIGHTS, PERSONAL CHRONOLOGY:, INFLUENCES AND CONTRIBUTIONS, THE WORLD’S PERSPECTIVE, CONTEMPORARIES, LEGACY

User Comments

Your email address will be altered so spam harvesting bots can't read it easily.
Hide my email completely instead?

Cancel or