LOUISE BARKER / AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF PHYSICS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY LOUISE BARKER / AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF PHYSICS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
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Maria Goeppert Mayer (1906-1972), German theoretical physicist. Mayer gained her PhD in Germany in 1930. She then moved to the USA with her husband, where she worked on the Manhattan Project, which produced the first atomic bomb. She was appointed as professor of physics at the University of Chicago in 1946. Here she worked on the Nuclear Shell Model, developing 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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