Maria Goeppert-Mayer Biography
Birthday: June 28, 1906 (Cancer)
Born In: Katowice, Poland
Maria Goeppert Mayer was a German-born American theoretical physicist and a joint winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics for proposing the nuclear shell model of the atomic nucleus. She was the second female Nobel laureate in physics, the first being Marie Curie. Mayer carried on her work during a time when women were not recognized by the academia and her work was largely accepted because of her husband, Dr. Joseph Edward Mayer. She is most well-known for her research in nuclear physics, but her vast body of work in the fields of atomic and chemical physics is equally significant. Much of her work provides the theoretical foundation for several scientific discoveries in laser physics, laser isotope separation, double-beta decay, and molecular orbital calculation. At the end of World War II she attended the U.S. atomic bomb project and during this time she began her research on how atomic nuclei are built, including the puzzling "magic numbers". Even though she worked for the ‘Manhattan Project’, she was also active in the campaigns against military control of nuclear energy. Maria Goeppert Mayer was a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a corresponding member of the Akademie der Wissenschaften in Heidelberg. The American Physical Society created the Maria Goeppert Mayer Award to honor meritorious young female physicists.