Dr. Brenda P. Winnewisser “Hedwig Kohn – A Lady with a Passion for Physics”

“Hedwig Kohn (1887-1964) – A Lady with a Passion for Physics”
Dr. Brenda P. Winnewisser, OSU
Monday, October 9, 4:10 pm

Margaret M. Walter Hall, Room 145
Ohio University, Athens
Special Joint Colloquium – Physics & Astronomy and Women’s Studies

Abstract: This talk by Dr. Winnewisser presents the biography of Hedwig Kohn, one of the three women who, up to WWII, achieved the qualification for university teaching in Germany, the Habilitation, in physics. Forced like many other scholars to leave Nazi Germany, she came to the US in 1940 under rather dramatic circumstances. She succeeded in making a new life in the American academic world.
The story of her immigration illuminates the response of various institutions, German and American, to her ambitions and later her desperation, as well as the situation of women in science and in physics in particular in the 20th century. Her publications in quantitative measurement of radiation and atomic flame spectroscopy, from 1913 through 1932, were widely recognized, and together with her postwar work, were cited through the 1980s. [photo of Hedwig Kohn]
Speaker: Brenda Winnewisser studied at Wellesley College, where Kohn had earlier taught, and at Duke University, where she met Kohn. She then spent 35 years in Germany, doing research in high resolution rovibrational molecular spectroscopy, which she is now doing at The Ohio State University.


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