January 24, 1904 – Berta Karlik is born, first professor at the University of Vienna and discoverer of the isotopes of astatine and its existence in nature as a product of processes

Berta Karlik

Contrary to what was established for a woman, she entered the University of Vienna to study Physics and Mathematics. After graduating in 1923, she was accepted to the faculty of philosophy until 1928, when she received her Ph.D.

During her university years, she was a member of the research group of the Radio Institute, specializing in the scintillation counter. She won a scholarship from the International Federation of University Women, an extraordinary opportunity to study in the most prestigious laboratories in the world.

In 1930, he traveled to London, where he worked on crystallography and used X-rays to study the structure of crystals or on radiotherapy at Hammersmith Hospital. Subsequently, he began to work at the Curie Institute in Paris.

In 1931, already back in Vienna, he began to work as a scientific assistant at the Institute for Radium Research, forming part of the research group that studied the radioactivity of seawater led by the Swedish physicist Hans Pettersson, until in 1937 got permission to teach.

In 1937, being of Jewish descent, he had to leave Austria and moved to the United States where he worked with Enrico Fermi. There, she and her assistant, Traude Bernert, identified isotopes 215, 216, and 218 of element number 85, astatine (At), and succeeded in proving their existence in nature as a product of natural decay processes.

If you want to know more about this great scientist, click on the following link: Berta Karlik

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