"Leise Meitner figured out that nuclear fission was happening while her colleague Otto stared blankly at the data"
However, we have the letters between Otto Hahn and Leise Meitner, and it was Meitner that stared blankly at Otto Hahn's data, while Otto Hahn, who had designed the experiment and performed the experiment, figured out that the results implied nuclear fission ....
Checking the non political literature:"The historical development of quantum theory" By Jagdish Mehra, Helmut Rechenberg, page 1001http://books.google.com/books?id=kn6mb0 ... v01csJ8n7I
On Page 1001, we find direct quotes from the letters between Leise Meitner and Otto Hahn.
And Darwin argued that the eye could not form by evolution: http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CA/CA113_1.html
; another case of selective quoting.
sam035 wrote:Hahn writes to Meitner that his results are strange because Quote "it should not break up" , implying that what he observes is uranium atoms breaking up when hit by a neutron.
That piece is correct; though it leaves out the possibility that Hahn thought of for testing this and that he mentioned that it was difficult to do so: "Now we want to test whether the actinium isotopes [obtained] from [the decaying] "radium" may not behave like lanthanum instead of actinium. All of these are tricky experiments.
sam035 wrote:Meitner responds that Hahn's results must be experimental error. Quote "The assumption of far reaching smashing appears to me to be rather problematic."
First off, sam035 leaves off very important parts of that quote; the quote in full is: "The assumption of far reaching smashing appears to me, at the moment, to be rather problematic, but we have experienced so many surprises in nuclear physics that we can not say that, it is impossible". She also suggested some chemical checks; based on what I have read of this book sam035 quotes from, I can not say for sure whether she suggested chemical tests that would more easily distinguish barium from radium more easily than waiting to see if the radioactive "radium" decays into lanthanum as barium would rather than decaying into actinium as radium would; but what I have read of the book that sam035 quotes is not inconsistent with that.
But, it is obviously
false that Meitner said that Hahn's results must
be experimental error. However, perhaps sam035 is too young to remember the Pons-Fleischmann cold fusion fiasco
where a couple of scientists went off half-cocked and made fools of themselves; while this incident post-dates the events that we are talking by several decades, I mention it because it is a good example of what happens when scientists go off half-cocked and are wrong about things that physics, as known at the time, regards as impossible. Given the consequences that Hahn and Otto could expect had they done the same, their being reluctant to go forward without overwhelming evidence is completely understandable; and as for Meitner, there was already an extreme prejudice against women scientists in 1938/39; had she joined them in an unorthodox idea and they had been proven wrong, she would face even more serious difficulties in being taken seriously ever again and been used incessantly as "proof" that women were incapable of serious science.
sam035 wrote:Hahn disagrees, and tells Meitner he is going to publish that uranium atoms are breaking up.
He sends a paper to Naturwissenshaften reporting atom smashing - what we now call nuclear fission.
In the modern days of nearly instantaneous communication over the Internet, perhaps it is easy for sam035 to forget than in 1938/39 that even the telephone is nowhere near as being as ubiquitous as it was even 20 years later; the long-distance communication between Meitner and Hahn was carried out by mail -- not email, but physical paper transported by car or railroad. On the very same day
as Meitner was suggesting additional ways to check whether radium or barium was being produced, Hahn was able to confirm that the "radium" had indeed decayed in to lanthanum -- as would be expected of barium
-- rather than the actinium that would be expected of radium.
sam035 wrote:He sends a copy of that paper to Meitner.
After receiving that paper, then Meitner "discovers" nuclear fission.Gee, if he had sent me a copy, I could have "discovered" it also.
The real problem is that Hahn is unable to provide a mechanism
by which this unexpected production of much less massive nuclides can be explained -- certainly the energy contributed by the slow
neutrons would seem to be insufficient to actually smash the nucleus. On 1939 Jan 16 Otto submitted a joint letter by Meitner and himself to Nature
(a scientific journal) giving an explanation of a mechanism for the previously unexpected production of much less massive nuclides which is in its basic details is identical to that is understood to be the mechanism to this day
sam035 wrote:Leise Meitner is a glaring example of yet another affirmative action "scientist" who happened to be hanging around some distance from actual scientific work performed by white males.
Affirmative action in 1938/39!?! I would say that your ignorance of history is astounding, but I think that your astounding level of intellectual dishonesty is sufficient to explain your ludicrous conjecture.
For the rest of you, my thought was that I wanted to see the full letters being quoted by sam035, and I had serious doubts of finding them in a reference that was provided by sam035 himself; and I didn't, but I was surprised that even without them that the very source that sam035 provided the link to contradicted virtually every "fact" that he* claimed
(BTW, this emoticon is not being used ironically here). I understand why others would not have expected the source provided by this poster to refute his own claims, but did no one even check
* BTW, while I consider it extremely likely that sam035 is male; in the interest of accuracy, I have to admit that I have not had the opportunity to check sam035's genital configuration; nor its chromosomal content.