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Today’s Strong Female is Dr. Maria Goeppert-Mayer (b. 28 June 1906 – d. 20 Feb 1972):

Teamed up with Harold Urey and Enrico Fermi while at the Manhattan Project.  What, like it's hard?

Teamed up with Harold Urey and Enrico Fermi while at the Manhattan Project. What, like it’s hard?

Why is she strong?

Like many of the historical women presented on this site, she had to fight against a lot of societal and institutional sexism.  She also developed the Nuclear Shell Model of electrons around atoms, for which she won the Nobel Prize in Physics (split with Hans D. Jensen and Hans Suess.)  She even has a unit named after her, (the Goeppert Mayer unit GM,) which is a measurement of the two-photon absorption cross-section.

While she did defend herself and earned all credentials headed her way, she also was not afraid to work with other scientists and share credit and ideas when necessary.  Cooperative science at this level is a rare thing to hear about.

As a personal note, it is interesting to see a historical example of the two-body problem which affects highly intelligent married academics everywhere.  That is, how do you get both of you employed in the same city?  There’s a story there that I did not research before making this post.

Keep it civil, people.

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