Fritz Strassmann

Fritz StrassmanFritz Strassmann (1902-1980)

Fritz Strassmann was born on February 22, 1902, in Boppard, Germany. He earned his Ph.D. from the Technical University of Hannover in 1929. In 1934, he joined Otto Hahn and Lise Meitner in their investigation of the bombardment of uranium with neutrons. His expertise in analytical chemistry contributed to the team’s recognition of the lighter elements produced from neutron bombardment. He replaced Lise Meitner, who had to flee Nazi Germany and in 1938, Hahn and Strassmann conducted experiments that proved nuclear fission.

Strassmann later worked at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute and, from 1945 to 1953, was director of the chemistry department at the Max Planck Institute. In 1946, Strassmann became professor of inorganic and nuclear chemistry at the University of Mainz, where he established the Institute of Inorganic Chemistry (later the Institute of Nuclear Chemistry).

Strassmann was on the ALSOS list, the Manhattan Project’s military intelligence effort to capture known, enemy nuclear scientists in an attempt to learn how far Germany had progressed in its efforts to develop a nuclear weapon.

In 1966, for recognition of their work on nuclear fission, Strassmann, Hahn and Meitner shared the Enrico Fermi Award. He died in Mainz on April 22, 1980.


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