Otto Hahn, German chemist

Otto Hahn, German chemist

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Credit: EMILIO SEGRE VISUAL ARCHIVES/AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF PHYSICS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Caption: Otto Hahn (1879-1968), German chemist. Hahn studied chemistry at Marburg, doing postdoctoral work with Ramsay in London, then Rutherford in Canada. He returned to Germany in 1910. It was in the 1930s, together with Lise Meitner, that he worked on bombarding uranium nuclei with slow neutrons. They detected the production of barium rather than the radium expected. Hahn and Meitner (who had fled to Sweden) realised that the nucleus had been split, a discovery that resulted in the atomic bomb. Hahn published the results in 1938, and it was for this work that he was awarded the 1944 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

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