Maria Goeppert Mayer and daughter

Maria Goeppert Mayer and daughter

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Credit: STEIN COLLECTION/AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF PHYSICS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Caption: Maria Goeppert Mayer (1906-1972), German theoretical physicist, with her daughter Marianne. Mayer gained her PhD in Germany in 1930. She then moved to the USA with her husband, where she helped to produce the first atomic bomb. In 1946 she was appointed professor of physics at the University of Chicago, where she worked on the Nuclear Shell Model. She developed the concept of magic numbers (the numbers of protons or neutrons that occur in very stable atomic nuclei). She shared the Nobel Prize for physics in 1963.

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