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Engineering Physics
University of Wisconsin
September 23, 1997

To: Professor Michael Alley

From: Cindy Reese CTR

Subject: Request to Research How Credit Was Awarded for the Discovery of Nuclear Fission

For my EPD 397 project, please grant me permission to study the way in which credit has been awarded for the discovery of nuclear fission. Although Otto Hahn received the 1946 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the discovery, several people assert that Lise Meitner and Fritz Strassman should have also received credit. In my research, I will attempt to discern how credit should have been bestowed. This topic meets the criteria for a successful topic in this course. First, I am interested in the topic. As a nuclear engineering student, I realize that the discovery of nuclear fission was perhaps the single most important discovery this century in my field. As a woman scientist, I am so deeply interested in the successes and challenges faced by other women scientists. A second way in which this topic meets the criteria is that it can be quickly researched. A computer search in the library has revealed many sources available on this topic. Attached to this memo is a summary of one such source, Lise Meitner: A Life in Physics by Ruth Sime. This topic also meets the third criterion for a successful topic in this course, namely, that it be technical. The fission of an uranium nuclear involves an understanding of both chemistry and physics principles. By focusing on this single discovery, I believe that I can achieve the fourth criterion for a successful topic: the achievement of depth. Finally, because the library system at the University of Wisconsin offers such a wide array of possible sources, including papers in German and because many of these sources have been written for audiences more technical than my intended audience, I believe that I can create a project that is unique. If you have any suggestions for modifying this topic, please let me know. With your...
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