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Nobel Prizes denied to Rosalind and Lise

Story ID:806
Written by:Suzana Margaret Megles (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Location:? ? Europe
Year:1920
Person:Rosalind and Lise
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Nobel Prizes denied to  Rosalind and Lise

Nobel Prizes denied to  Rosalind and Lise


When I think of the Nobel Prize winners, I can only recall a few who received these coveted awards - Mother Teresa, Jimmy Carter, Yaser Arafat, and Isaac Bashevis Singer.

I cannot say enough good things about Mother Teresa and Jimmy Carter is a very accomplished and caring person who does much work for the poor. However, he got a letter of disapproval from me when I heard years ago that he and Rosalind had attended a bull fight while in Spain. I lost some respect then.

And I love Isaac Bashevis Singer, a vegetarian since a small child in Poland after hearing the squeals of slaughtered pigs. Asked by a reporter about his favorite vegetarian dish, he replied- mashed potatoes. I laughed when I read his response because he is a "gourmet" after my own heart.

So my list of recognizable Nobel Prize winners is certainly a tiny one, and it shows that I don't pay too much attention re this wonderful way of honoring MOST but not all deserving recipients. (You will understand why I had to qualify after reading more re this issue.) However, a recent e-mail on the subject made me take notice - at least of the ones who were mentioned there.

The sender had taken the time to list the Islamic and Jewish Nobel prize winners in
Literature, Peace, Physics, Medicine, Chemistry, and Economics. Naturally, Mother Teresa and Jimmy Carter were not on this quite lengthy list of honorees because they are Christian.

I can understand why the writer wanted to make this comparison because he wanted to show that the Jews are a people who have made many, many wonderful contributions in the categories mentioned above and that as a people they should be justifyably proud. I think we should also be grateful. Of the 141 honorees, 134 were
Jewish and 7 were Islamic.

And what is even more remarkable is that the Jewish population is .02 % of the world's population while the Islamic population composes 20%. As a Christian, I am amazed at these statistics. Whoever the writer and compiler, I appreciate his or her work in this regard and it made me recall an event from my DePaul years in the 60's. In one class I sat next to a Jewish girl and while in conversation she told me that as Jews they are taught to work hard and try to be as successful as they can be. I think
she also said that this would be a mark of God's blessings on their efforts.

Funny, that I should remember this some 40 years ago. Ask me what I learned in that class or even the name of the subject. Not a clue. But though I can't remember what she looked like, I did remember our conversation. We are both old ladies now if she still is alive, and I feel that she probably made a mark for herself in this world.

However, in the early 20th century women were not looked upon as equals in academia
and I looked in vain for two Jewish women names on this list of Jewish prize winners. I had forgotten that even though both -Rosalind Franklin (1920-1958) and Lise Meitner (d.1968) made important contributions in their scientific fields - neither received the Nobel prize while their men colleagues did.

Both played crucial roles in their respective work - one with DNA and the other on the
splitting of the atom, Because of Rosalind's work with DNA innocent people on death row have been exonerated. And of course, some were proven guilty.

If interested in this brilliant Jewish woman's work --look her up on the internet. You will find there that her colleague without her permission gave her unpublished work to Watson and Crick and they "ran" with it landing the Nobel Prize.

I had seen Rosalind's story on eitther NOVA or Frontline and recently I saw the account of Lise Meitner - an Austrian Jew whose work resulted in the splitting of the atom. Again she was not given credit but even remained friends with her collaborator despite the slight and his receiving the Nobel Prize. When asked to join the Manhattan project and the development of the Atomic bomb, she declined because as a pacifist she didn't want her work used to kill people. A remarkable, brilliant, and humble woman. When did you last hear these adjectives describing one person? Again, please do look her story up on the internet. Better yet, hope that NOVA or Frontline will run it again. You will not be
sorry to see her whole story.

**I recently found Rosalind's picture in the
Cleveland Plain Dealer accompanied by her story.
I was so happy because this unsung hero deserves
recognition even posthumously. Everytime I watch a program where DNA either exonerates or condemns unequivocally, I think of her and thank God for the talents He gave her - which she used so well.

I was glad that I also found a picture of Lise
Meitner on the internet. What a beautiful lady--
inside and out!