A Dying Grandfather's Note

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Dear grandson,

It is your grandfather, Otto Robert Frisch. I am an Austrian-British physicist, born on October 1, 1904, in Vienna, Austria, to your great-grandparents, Justinian and Auguste Frisch. My mother was a great musician, and my father a painter. I got my passion for science from my aunt, Lise Meitner; I’ll talk more about her later. I was schooled privately, as my family had high expectations for me. In the year 1926, I graduated from the University of Vienna with a Ph.D. in physics. Afterwards, I worked with Siegmund Strauss, an inventor who was working with tinkering x-ray dosimeters. From him, I learned about the construction of technical measuring apparatus, which was of great help for the rest of my science career. A few months later, in 1927, I was offered a job in Berlin at the German National Physical Laboratory, where I worked in the optics division for Carl Müller. Here, I also worked with my aunt Lise Meitner, who was also a physicist. She and I worked together for twenty years. She also discovered uranium fission with her friend Otto Hahn who was a German chemist. I really enjoyed my three years in Berlin. I made a lot of interesting research, met a lot of new associates, and even met my childhood hero, Albert Einstein, who was a personal friend of my aunt. In the year 1933, Hitler came to power and racial laws were passed, forbidding Jews to engage in certain activities. I, being a Jew, was forced to move elsewhere. I then met Niels Bohr, a Danish physicist who had to be the most profound thinker of all the physicists I had ever met, at a conference in Copenhagen. In 1934, Bohr invited me back to Copenhagen with the compliment, "you must come to Copenhagen to work with us. We like people who can actually perform thought experiments." I worked there for five years, continuing my work on radioactivity. In 1939, I visited his aunt, who was now in Sweden. She and Otto Hahn were still collaborating in work on radioactivity. Hahn had written...
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