Many of the world’s scientists, medical doctors, engineers, mathematicians, teachers and writers have studied and played musical instruments since they were children. These eminent individuals have integrated music into their thinking process. Music is a powerful tool for motivating, inspiring, educating and soothing pain.
Our article of the month for April 2013: “Are You Broke and Tired of it?” by Madeline Frank, Ph.D.
Our blog features Lise Meitner who was a physicist, Professor, co-discoverer of the radioactive element “Protactinium”, awarded the Leibniz Medal , co-discoverer of nuclear fission, received the Enrico Fermi Award, the Max Planck Medal, honored as the “Women of the Year” in 1946, and was a lifelong musician playing the piano. Albert Einstein called her “our German Madame Curie”.
Lise Meitner was born in Vienna, Austria on November 7, 1878 to Philipp Meitner, a lawyer, and Hedwig Skovran Meitner. She was the third of eight children. Her parents encouraged their children “to listen to their parents, think for themselves” and have “enquiring minds.” The Meitner’s hired tutors to teach their eight children, filled the house with books for them to read, and taught each of their children to play the piano. Music was considered to be an important part of their education. Auguste Meitner, Lise’s sister, became a concert pianist and composer. Lise’s love and passion for music remained with her throughout her life.
As adults all her siblings, her 4 sisters and 3 brothers, earned advanced degrees. This was quite amazing for a family in that time in history.
Lise Meitner’s favorite subjects were mathematics and science. At 14 years of age formal education ended for women but she wanted to continue her education. Women and Jews were not permitted to go to the university. Lise’s parents wanted her first to become a teacher so she could earn a living. To become a teacher you did not go to the university. As a teacher she taught French, helped pay for her sister, Gusti’s, advanced piano lessons by tutoring younger girls, and volunteered in schools and organizations to help the poor.
Lise Meitner wrote about that time feeling “a sense of loss.” She said, “Although I had a very marked bent for mathematics and physics from my early years, I did not begin a life of study immediately. Thinking back to . . . the time of my youth, one realizes with some astonishment how many problems then existed in the lives of ordinary young girls, which now seem almost unimaginable. Among the most difficult of these problems was the possibility of normal intellectual training.”
Mentors and Teachers who inspired Lise Meitner:
Dr. Arthur Szarvassy had just graduated with his doctorate in Physics at the University of Vienna. He became Lise’s tutor in mathematics and physics in 1899 to help her prepare for the Matura exam. She was 21 years old.
Lise Meitner said of him he “had a real gift for presenting the subject matter of mathematics and physics in an extraordinarily stimulating manner. Sometimes he was able to show us apparatus in the Vienna University [Physics] Institute, a rarity in private coaching–usually all one was given were figures and diagrams of apparatus. I must confess that I did not always get correct ideas from these, and today it amuses me to think of the astonishment with which I saw certain apparatus for the first time. ”
She also studied Latin, Greek, zoology, botany, logic, psychology, mineralogy, German literature, history, and religion for the Matura exam. The academic work covered eight years of schooling in two years. Studies were said to be “intense” and the exam was said to be “terrifying”.
Dr. Szarvassy worked with three women including Lise to study for the Matura exam to go to the University. Fourteen young women took the Matura exam for entrance at the University in July 1901. Four passed the exam, three of them were Dr. Szarvassy’s students and the fourth was Henriette Boltzmann, Dr. Boltzmann’s daughter.
Lise Meitner began her studies at the University in October of 1901 at the age of 23. She began with a full schedule of classes at 8am in Calculus. She also studied physics, botany, and chemistry including twenty five hours of demonstrations, discussions, lectures, and laboratories. Her Physics classes were taught by Professor Franz Exner who she said “brought such clarity and perspective to the subject that students from all disciplines thronged to it.”
Lise Meitner in her second year at the University studied Physics with Dr. Ludwig Boltzmann. Even fifty years later she would remember Dr. “Boltzmann’s lectures as “the most beautiful and stimulating that I have ever heard. . . . He himself was so enthusiastic about everything he taught us that one left every lecture with the feeling that a completely new and wonderful world had been revealed.”
Dr. Lise Meitner graduated with the doctorate in Physics in 1906 at the University of Vienna. She wrote to Madame Curie, but no work was available. For a short time she taught at a school for girls. After Dr. Boltzmann’s sudden death she worked with Stephan Meyer who replaced Boltzmann temporarily working on radioactivity research.
She went to Berlin and was allowed to attend Max Planck’s lectures. Before this he did not allow any women in his lectures. Lise later became Max Planck’s assistant and worked with Otto Hahn. Hahn -Meitner research group in 1912 moved to Berlin to work at Kaiser Wilhelm Institute. Women were not allowed in the laboratory of the University of Berlin. Lise Meitner worked in the basement, unpaid, living on the little money her family was able to send her. She worked with Otto Hahn who left to serve in World War I while she continued on with their research discovering protactinium “a radioactive element”.
Dr. Lise Meitner in 1926, at the University of Berlin, “became the first woman in Germany to assume a post as a full professor in physics.” She and Leo Szilard in 1930 “taught a seminar on nuclear physics and chemistry.”
For thirty years Lise Meitner lived and worked in Berlin until the Nazis came for her. She escaped to Sweden. She signed her scientific articles as “L Meitner”. When the publisher found out she was a women, he refused to publish her articles any longer.
Lise Meitner called the process she was working on nuclear fission. She was a co-discover of “nuclear fission with Otto Hahn.”
Unknown to her” other scientists built on her work and called it the “Manhattan Project” which was the development of the atomic bomb. She refused to help with the development of the weapon. She wanted her discoveries to be used for peaceful purposes”.
In 1944 the Nobel Prize in Chemistry “for the interpretation of nuclear fission” was given to Hahn without giving any credit to Lise Meitner for her work.
Lise Meitner continued working with her nephew, Otto Robert Frisch, her sister Auguste’s son, for many years. He was 34 years her junior. “Albert Einstein affectionately called her “our German Madame Curie”. Lise Meitner received the Enrico Fermi Award two years before her death with her co-workers Strassman and Hahn. Twenty nine years after her death in 1997, the heaviest known chemical element, 109 “was named Meitnerium” in her honor.
Lise Meitner’s love and passion for music remained with her throughout her life. On her gravestone is written “A physicist who never lost her humanity”. Lise Meitner died in Cambridge, England, Oct. 27, 1968.
Dr. Madeline Frank’s Musical One Minute Radio Show for April 2013
How did Classical Music play a part of Dr. Lise Meitner’s life as a Physicist, Professor, co-discoverer of the radioactive element “Protactinium”, co-discoverer of nuclear fission and what musical instrument did she play?
Are You Broke and Tired of it? by Madeline Frank, Ph.D.
Do you wish you had an Emergency Nest Egg Fund of $1000 to pay for your unexpected emergencies like having to rush to the hospital for emergency surgery or your car needs a new carbonator to get you to work? Would you be able to pay for these unexpected expenses?
By now you are saying to yourself, how do I get my $1000 Emergency Nest Egg Fund set up? What’s my first step? Gabby and Jay are going to tell us how they did it! For one week Gabby and Jay tracked every receipt and purchase they made including the ones for their computers. They kept all their receipts and expenses and wrote them down in a note book. They included every purchase they made even small purchases for sodas, snacks, lunches, dinners, breakfasts, groceries, going to the movies, purchasing snacks, gas for their cars, cigarettes, and any other items they purchased that week. Jay and Gabby also wrote down their weekly spending for pay pal accounts, group on offers, credit cards, game accounts and iTunes accounts on their computers.
Gabby saved all her receipts for one week and totaled all her receipts. She looked at her first couple of receipts and realized she had gone to Star Bucks with her friends 5 times that week spending $4 a day for Coffee, a total of $20 for the week. She decided to go to Star Bucks with her friends three times the next week, and invites her friends to share coffee at her house two days a week, and puts the $8 she saved into her Piggy Bank to start her $1000 Emergency Nest Egg Fund. In a months’ time Gabby realizes she will save $32 and in 6 months she will save $192 towards her $1000 Emergency Nest Egg Fund.
Gabby continues looking at her receipts and realizes she bought 3 packs of cigarettes a week at $5.50 a package, $16.50 a week. Gabby says, “I spent $66 a month on cigarettes. If I cut down my smoking to a pack a week I can put $11 into my “Piggy Bank” for my Emergency Nest Egg Fund each week and in a month’s time I will have saved a total of $44 in my “Piggy Bank” toward my $1000 Emergency Nest Egg Fund. In 6 months I will have saved $264 toward my $1000 Emergency Nest Egg Fund.”
Gabby says, “If I continue to go through my receipts and eliminate the items I don’t need or cut down other expenses I will have my Emergency Nest Egg Fund in place in less than 6 months. By cutting back on Cigarettes and coffee I’ve already saved $76 this month. I will go through my receipts and look at what else I can eliminate or cut down on. My goal is to have my Emergency Nest Egg Fund in place in 6 months. I am determined to do it!”
Jay has saved all his receipts for one week and totaled all his receipts. He looks at his first set of receipts and realizes he has 5 days of lunches at $8 a lunch for five days and he’s spent $40 on lunches this week. He says, “If I bring a bag lunch to work three days a week, I can save $24to put in my “Tin Can” to start my $1000 Emergency Nest Egg Fund. In a month’s time I will have saved $96.”
Jay then goes to his computer receipts and realizes he’s spend $45 a week on his computer for his Pay pal accounts, Groupon offers, credit cards, game accounts and his iTunes account. He says, “Do I really need these accounts, are they going to help me get my Emergency Nest Egg Fund up and running? These purchases are bleeding away my hard earned money. I’m going to close these accounts. That way I can put $180 a month into my “Tin Can” to save for my $1000 Emergency Nest Egg Fund. I will go through my receipts and look at what else I can eliminate or cut down on. My goal is to have my Emergency Nest Egg Fund in place in 6 months. I know I can do it!”
So, what are the three steps for you to save for your $1000 Emergency Nest Egg Fund just like Jay and Gabby?
- Track your spending for one week. Keep all your receipts and expenses for the week, writing them down in a note book, and at the end of the week add them together to get your total expenses for the week. Include every purchase you make even small purchases for sodas, snacks, lunches, dinners, breakfasts, groceries, going to the movies, purchasing snacks, gas for your car, cigarettes, and any other items you purchased that week. Also list your weekly spending for pay pal accounts, group on offers, credit cards, game accounts and iTunes accounts on your computer.
- Evaluate each of your receipts, just like Gabby and Jay did, and decide if it is a needed expense or not and start putting your saved money into your Emergency Nest Egg Fund “Piggy Bank or Tin Bank”.
- Look at your computer receipts like Jay did and decide if your weekly pay pal accounts, group on offers, credit cards, game accounts, and iTunes accounts on your computer can be eliminated or cut back. Jay turned off his pay pal account, his Groupon offers, his game accounts, his iTunes account and stopped spending his credit card money on things he didn’t need. Jay said, “These purchases are bleeding away my hard earned money.”
By following these three steps and being determined and disciplined to do it, you will be like Gabby and Jay, able to set up your $1000 Emergency Nest Egg Fund. You can also save on gas for your car each week by being aware of which gas station has a special day for saving 5cents for each gallon you purchase. In our city it’s every Thursday. What day is it in your City or town? Every penny you save can go into your $1000 Emergency Nest Egg Fund. The sooner you start the sooner you will have your $1000 Emergency Nest Egg Fund in place.
© 2013 Madeline Frank
For more articles by Madeline Frank, Ph.D.:
Dr. Madeline Frank’s book “Leadership on a Shoestring Budget” is now available through amazon.com. Click on the following Amazon.com link to order your copy of “Leadership On A Shoestring Budget”
For more scientific evidence, medical evidence, test results, and true stories of the world’s scientists, medical doctors, and mathematicians who have studied and played musical instruments since they were children read“The Secret of Teaching Science & Math Through Music” by Madeline Frank, Ph.D. Click on the link:
“Madeline’s Midnight Melodies- Music From around the World” . This CD complements her books with a blend of dance music, gigues, tangos, ballet and favorites including “Danny Boy”, Puccini’s “O Mio Babbino Caro”, Debussy’s “Claire De Lune” and others. “Madeline’s Midnight Melodies” is music to relax by and to move by for music therapy. Click here for Madeline Frank’s extended biography, reviews, and excerpts of “Madeline’s Midnight Melodies” . For your cd of “Madeline’s Midnight Melodies” click below:
“Musical Notes On Math” by Dr. Madeline Frank teaches your child fractions and decimals, the fun way, through the rhythm of music, Winner of the Parent To Parent Adding Wisdom Award. For more information click on the following link: