Sameera Moussa: "My wish is that nuclear cancer treatment is as affordable and cheap as aspirin"

March 3, 1917, in A el-Gharbiya (Egypt) – August 5, 1952, in California (United States)

His father was a famous political activist. When her mother died of cancer, they moved to Cairo where she invested her money in a small hotel. Due to his father's insistence, Moussa attended Kaser Lo-Shok Primary School, one of the oldest schools in Cairo. After completing his primary education, he joined the Banat El-Ashraf school, which had been built and was run by the famous politician and activist Nabawya Moussa.

He continued his studies at the Faculty of Sciences at Cairo University, graduating with honors in 1939 in radiology after investigating the effects of X-rays on various materials. With the help of the dean of the faculty, Dr. Moustafa Mousharafa, she was hired as a professor, becoming the first woman to obtain a teaching position at the university and a doctorate in atomic radiation.

X-ray technology is credited to German physicist Wilhelm Röntgen, who studied this particular electromagnetic radiation and which was quickly adopted by doctors to identify broken limbs and other ailments; however, the technology was still immature and incurred numerous costs. Furthermore, their technological development had stopped because of the war. At the end of the war, there were some problems with this technology that still remained to be solved: the need for shorter exposure times, easier fluoroscopic procedures, improved flexibility of the X-ray beams, decreased patient exposure, and increase mobility. For this reason, Moussa, who was convinced of the benefits of nuclear energy: "My wish is that the nuclear treatment for cancer be as affordable and cheap as aspirin", carried out an intense investigation, formulating a historical equation that would help to break atoms of metals, such as copper, in an inexpensive way. She thus achieving a medical use of nuclear technology that was affordable for everyone.

Átomos para la paz

Sameera helped organize the Atomic Energy for Peace Conference in London and promoted a call to establish an international conference under the theme “Atoms for Peace” that was held in the United States with President Dwight Eisenhower at the helm, where they were invited many prominent scientists of the day. This movement sought to offer the positive aspects of nuclear science and demonstrated this by volunteering at various hospitals to help treat cancer patients.

She received a scholarship from the Fulbright Atomic Program to further her knowledge of research equipment at the University of California in the United States, and in recognition of being a pioneer in nuclear research, she was allowed to visit the country's secret nuclear facilities. The visit raised a stir in academic and scientific circles in the United States since Moussa was also the first foreign person to visit this type of facility.

He turned down several offers that required him to live in the United States as well, such as American citizenship, saying "Egypt, my esteemed homeland, is waiting for me."

After his first visit to the United States he intended to return home, however, he was invited on another trip. On the way, the car in which he was traveling fell from a height of about 12 meters and he died on the spot. He was 35 years old.

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