Lise Meitner was born in Austria on 7 November 1878, the daughter of the Viennese lawyer, Phillip Meitner. In 1901 she entered the University of Vienna, becoming Doctor of Philosophy in 1906.
In the following year Meitner left Austria and went to Berlin [Germany] to study with the physicist Max Planck, becoming joint discoverer of Thorium-C in 1908. In 1912 Meitner moved on to work with Otto Hahn at the Chemical Institute, Kaiser Wilhelm Gesellschaft, in Göttingen. During the First World War she served for a time as an X-ray nurse in the Austrian Army, but continuing her research, Meitner became the discoverer of Protoactinium in 1917, and the following year was made Head of the Radiation Physics Department at the Kaiser Wilhelm Gesellschaft, a position which she held until she left Germany in 1938. In 1926 Meitner became a Professor of the University of Berlin, and also a correspondent of the Royal Society of Göttingen.
In 1938 Meitner fled Nazi Germany, travelling to Sweden to work at the Nobel Institute, and in 1939 discovered nuclear fission, working jointly with her old colleague Otto Hahn. After the war, Meitner moved to the Swedish Atomic Energy Laboratory in 1947 and in 1949 took Swedish citizenship. She retired to Cambridge in 1960, dying there on 28 October 1968.
Although it was Hahn, not Meitner who was awarded the Nobel Prize for their work on nuclear fission, Meitner received many other honours. She became a member of the Swedish Academy of Sciences in 1945, a foreign member of the Royal Society of London in 1955 and a member of the Austrian Academy in 1960. She was awarded the Otto Hahn Prize in 1955, and the Enrico Fermi Award in 1966. Her publications include: Beitrage zur Physik der Atomkerne, Atomvorgange und ihre Sichtbarnachung (1926) and Der Aufbau der Atomkerne (1935).
This small collection comprises material relating to Professor Lise Meitner, namely correspondence by her and concerning her.
This material has been transferred to the Archives Centre from other sources than the main deposit of Meitner's papers, between 1973 and 2011.
The collection is open for consultation by researchers using Churchill Archives Centre, Churchill College, Cambridge. Churchill Archives Centre is open from Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm. A prior appointment and two forms of identification are required.
Researchers wishing to publish excerpts from the papers must obtain prior permission from the copyright holders and should seek advice from Archives Centre staff.
Please cite as Churchill Archives Centre, Associated Papers of Lise Meitner, MTNR AS
For the main collection of Lise Meitner's papers, see MTNR.
A copy of this finding aid is available for consultation at Churchill Archives Centre, Cambridge, the National Register of Archives, London, and on the Janus website, http://janus.lib.cam.ac.uk.
This collection (fonds) level description was prepared by Katharine Thomson, October 2003, from an existing catalogue.