Otto Hahn: The Father of Nuclear Chemistry and Nobel Laureate

OV Digital Desk

Otto Hahn (8 March 1879 – 28 July 1968) was a German chemist. In 1944, Otto Hahn was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

Life and Career

Otto Hahn was born on 8 March 1879, in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. He studied chemistry at the University of Marburg, where he earned his doctorate in 1901 under the supervision of Sir William Ramsay. Otto Hahn had a distinguished career in chemistry and nuclear physics:

He worked with several renowned scientists during his career, including Ernest Rutherford and Marie Curie. Hahn made significant contributions to radiochemistry and radioactivity, co-discovering several radioactive isotopes. His most groundbreaking discovery came in 1938 when he and Fritz Strassmann, under the guidance of Lise Meitner, discovered nuclear fission. This discovery had profound implications for nuclear physics and led to the development of nuclear energy and the atomic bomb.

Hahn’s work in nuclear fission played a pivotal role in the Manhattan Project during World War II. Otto Hahn passed away on July 28, 1968, in Göttingen, West Germany.

Award and Legacy

Otto Hahn was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1944 for his discovery of nuclear fission. However, during the war, he did not personally travel to Stockholm to accept the award due to his opposition to the Nazi regime. Otto Hahn’s discovery of nuclear fission fundamentally changed the course of science and had far-reaching consequences for both peaceful and military applications of nuclear energy.

His work led to the development of nuclear reactors, which revolutionized the generation of electricity. Hahn’s commitment to ethical and responsible science during World War II, where he refused to work on the development of nuclear weapons for Nazi Germany, stands as a testament to his moral principles. His legacy includes his contributions to the understanding of the structure of the atomic nucleus and the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.