The Life of Marietta Blau - Austrian Physicist and Pioneer of Particle Physics

bridges vol. 14, July 2007 / Feature Article

by Robert Rosner

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Marietta Blau was an Austrian physicist who made her most important discovery for nuclear physics, the "stars of disintegration," a few months before the annexation of Austria by the Germans. With the help of Albert Einstein, she found asylum in Mexico, a country where technical and scientific education was just beginning and which was far from the centers of nuclear research. Marietta Blau could not carry on with her scientific work in Mexico but the photographic method for nuclear physics, which she had pioneered, proved to be an invaluable tool for discovering new fundamental particles in the next decades and led to the award of the Nobel Prize to British scientists.

Ariadne Press, a small publishing house in California that specializes in studies of Austrian literature, culture, and thought entered a new field in Spring 2007 by publishing the biography of this great Austrian scientist.

The book Marietta Blau, Stars of Disintegration: Biography of a Pioneer of Particle Physics by Brigitte Strohmaier and Robert Rosner depicts the life of the Austrian physicist Marietta Blau (1894-1970) and discusses her contributions to nuclear physics. The biographical part of the book discusses her family and social background, her friendships, her personal characteristics, and the political events that shaped her life.

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