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Table of Contents

Biography

AbstractImportant DatesOccupationPlacesSubjects

Relationships

PeopleInstitutions

Resources

Archival as AuthorArchival as SubjectPublished as AuthorPublished as Subject

Maria Goeppert Mayer

Photo

Dates

June 28, 1906 – February 20, 1972

Authorized Form of Name

Mayer, Maria Goeppert, 1906-1972

Additional Forms of Names

Goeppert-Mayer, Maria, 1906-1972

Biography

Abstract

Maria Goeppert Mayer was Professor of Physics at University of California, San Diego (1960-1972). Other institutional affiliations include University of Chicago, Columbia University, and Johns Hopkins University. Her research interests included chemical and nuclear physics. In 1963, Mayer was a recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physics for her contributions to discoveries concerning nuclear shell structure.

Important Dates

June 28, 1906Birth, Katowice (Poland).

1930Obtained PhD, University of Göttingen, Göttingen (Germany).

1930 – 1939Assistant in Physics (1930-1932); Associate in Physics (1932-1936); and Research Associate (1936-1939), Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore (Md.).

1939 – 1946No official title, Columbia University, New York (N.Y.).

1941 – 1942Lecturer, Sarah Lawrence College.

1942 – 1945Researcher, Columbia University, Manhattan Project.

1945Researcher, Los Alamos Laboratory, Manhattan Project.

1946 – 1959Senior Researcher, Argonne National Laboratory.

1946 – 1959Voluntary Professor (1946-1959) and Professor (1959-1960), University of Chicago, Chicago (Ill.).

1956Member, National Academy of Sciences.

1960 – 1972Professor, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla (San Diego, Calif.).

1963Awarded Nobel Prize in Physics with J. Hans D. Jensen "for their discoveries concerning nuclear shell structure".

February 20, 1972Death, San Diego (Calif.).

Occupation

Chemical physicist.

Places

Birth

Katowice (Poland)

Graduate Education

Göttingen (Germany)

Employment

Baltimore (Md.)

New York (N.Y.)

Chicago (Ill.)

La Jolla (San Diego, Calif.)

Death

San Diego (Calif.)

Subjects

Chemistry. Physical and theoretical.

Nuclear physics.

Nuclear structure.

Photons.

Theoretical physics.

Women in science.

Women physicists.

Relationships

People

Family

Goeppert, Friedrich

Father.

Goeppert, Maria Wolff

Mother.

Mayer, Joseph Edward, 1904-

Husband. Married 1930.

Mayer, Peter Conrad

Son.

Wentzel, Maria Ann Mayer

Daughter.

Advisors & Collaborators

Born, Max, 1882-1970

PhD advisor at University of Göttingen.

Jensen, J. Hans D.

Shared 1963 Nobel Prize in Physics "for their discoveries concerning nuclear shell structure".

Rowland, F. S.

Advised by Mayer at University of Chicago.

Rutherford, Ernest, 1871-1937

Advisor at University of Cambridge.

Sachs, Robert Green, 1916-

Advised by Mayer at Johns Hopkins University, "Nuclear spins and magnetic moments by the alpha-particle model."

Colleagues

Agnew, Harold M.

Both employed at Los Alamos Laboratory, Manhattan Project.

Alfvén, Hannes

Both employed at University of California, San Diego.

Allison, Samuel King, 1900-1965

Both employed at University of Chicago and the Los Alamos Laboratory, Manhattan Project

Anderson, Herbert Lawrence

Both employed at Los Alamos Laboratory, Manhattan Project and the University of Chicago.

Barschall, H. H. (Henry Herman), 1915-1997

Both employed at Los Alamos Laboratory, Manhattan Project.

Bederson, Benjamin

Both employed at Los Alamos Laboratory, Manhattan Project.

Booker, Henry G.

Both employed at University of California, San Diego.

Booth, Eugene

Both employed at Columbia University.

Brueckner, Keith A.

Both employed at University of California, San Diego.

Case, Kenneth M.

Both employed at the Los Alamos Laboratory, Manhattan Project.

Chamberlain, O. (Owen)

Both employed at Los Alamos Laboratory, Manhattan Project.

Christy, Robert F.

Both employed at Los Alamos Laboratory, Manhattan Project.

Coppi, B.

Both employed at University of California, San Diego.

Corson, Dale R.

Both employed at Los Alamos Laboratory, Manhattan Project.

Creutz, E.

Both employed at Los Alamos Laboratory, Manhattan Project.

Crewe, Albert V.

Both employed at University of Chicago.

Davis, Bergen, 1869-1958

Both employed at Columbia University.

Dempster, Arthur Jeffrey

Both employed at University of Chicago.

Deutsch, Martin, 1917-2002

Both employed at the Los Alamos Laboratory, Manhattan Project.

Duffield, Robert B.

Both employed at Los Alamos Laboratory, Manhattan Project.

Dunning, John R. (John Ray), 1907-1975

Both employed at Columbia University.

Eckart, Carl, 1902-1973

Both employed at University of Chicago.

Elsasser, Walter M., 1904-

Both employed at University of California, San Diego.

Feher, George, 1924-

Both employed at University of California, San Diego.

Ference, Michael, 1911-

Both employed at University of Chicago.

Fermi, Enrico, 1901-1954

Both employed at Columbia University.

Fisk, Zachary

Both employed at University of California, San Diego.

Fitch, Val L., 1923-2015

Both employed at Los Alamos Laboratory, Manhattan Project.

Foley, Henry Michael, 1917-1982

Both employed at Columbia University.

Franck, James, 1882-1964

Both employed at Johns Hopkins University.

Friedman, Jerome I. (Jerome Isaac), 1930-

Both employed at University of Chicago.

Fritzsche, Hellmut

Both employed at University of Chicago.

Glauber, Roy J., 1925-

Both employed at Los Alamos Laboratory, Manhattan Project.

Goldberger, Marvin L.

Both employed at University of Chicago.

Herzfeld, Karl F. (Karl Ferdinand), 1892-

Both employed at Johns Hopkins University.

Kohn, Walter, 1923-2016

Both employed at University of California, San Diego.

Koshiba, Masatoshi, 1926-

Both employed at University of Chicago.

Kroll, Norman Myles, 1922-

Both employed at University of California, San Diego.

Kusch, Polykarp, 1911-1993

Both employed at Columbia University.

Lamb, Willis E. (Willis Eugene), 1913-2008

Both employed at Columbia University.

Lang, Norton D.

Both employed at University of California, San Diego.

Malmberg, J. H.

Both employed at University of California, San Diego.

Maple, M. Brian, 1939-

Both employed at University of California, San Diego.

Marshak, Robert E. (Robert Eugene), 1916-1992

Both employed at Los Alamos Laboratory, Manhattan Project.

Matthias, Bernd T., 1918-1980

Both employed at University of California, San Diego.

McDaniel, Boyce D. (Boyce Dawkins), 1917-

Both employed at Los Alamos Laboratory, Manhattan Project.

Mermin, N. David

Both employed at University of California, San Diego.

Mulliken, Robert Sanderson

Both employed at University of Chicago.

Nambu, Yoichiro, 1921-2015

Both employed at University of Chicago.

O'Neil, T. M. (Thomas Michael), 1940-

Both employed at University of California, San Diego.

Panofsky, Wolfgang K. H. (Wolfgang Kurt Hermann), 1919-2007

Both employed at Los Alamos Laboratory, Manhattan Project.

Pegram, George Braxton, 1876-1958

Pegram arranged for Goeppert-Mayer to have an office at Columbia University even though she was not a paid employee.

Rabi, I. I. (Isidor Isaac), 1898-1988

Both employed at Columbia University.

Ramsey, Norman, 1915-2011

Both employed at Columbia University.

Rice, Thomas Maurice, 1939-

Both employed at University of California, San Diego.

Rieser, Leonard M.

Both employed at Los Alamos Laboratory, Manhattan Project.

Rosenbluth, M. N.

Both employed at University of California, San Diego.

Rostoker, Norman

Both employed at University of California, San Diego.

Schiff, Leonard I. (Leonard Isaac), 1915-1971

Both employed at Los Alamos Laboratory, Manhattan Project.

Schrieffer, J. R. (John Robert), 1931-

Both employed at University of Chicago.

Sham, L. J.

Both employed at University of California, San Diego.

Simpson, John A. (John Alexander), 1916-2000

Both employed at University of Chicago.

Suhl, Harry

Both employed at University of California, San Diego.

Telegdi, Val, 1922-2006

Both employed at University of Chicago.

Teller, Edward, 1908-2003

Both employed at University of Chicago.

Treiman, Sam B.

Both employed at University of Chicago.

Turkevich, Anthony, 1916-2002

Both employed at Los Alamos Laboratory, Manhattan Project.

Wentzel, Gregor, 1898-1978

Both employed at University of Chicago.

Wheatley, John Charles

Both employed at University of California, San Diego.

Wiesner, Jerome B. (Jerome Bert), 1915-1994

Both employed at Los Alamos Laboratory, Manhattan Project.

Wood, Robert Williams, 1868-1955

Both employed at Johns Hopkins University.

Wu, C. S. (Chien-shiung), 1912-1997

Both employed at Columbia University.

York, Herbert F. (Herbert Frank)

Both employed at University of California, San Diego.

Zacharias, Jerrold Reinach, 1905-1986

Both employed at Los Alamos Laboratory, Manhattan Project.

Zener, Clarence, 1905-

Both employed at University of Chicago.

Additional

Bigeleisen, J. (Jacob), 1919-2010

Bohr, Niels, 1885-1962

Fong, Peter

Goudsmit, Samuel A. (Samuel Abraham), 1902-1978

Heisenberg, Werner, 1901-1976

Jeffreys, Bertha Swirles

Lauritsen, Thomas, 1915-1973

Löwdin, Per-Olov, 1916-2000

Phillips, Melba, 1907-2004

Serber, R. (Robert)

Stein, Maria

Suess, Hans Eduard, 1909-

Weisskopf, Victor Frederick, 1908-2002

Wheeler, John Archibald, 1911-2008

Wigner, Eugene Paul, 1902-1995

Institutions

Major Positions

Argonne National Laboratory

Senior Researcher.

Columbia University. Department of Physics

Worked there but held no official title and worked at SAM Laboratory, Manhattan Project.

Johns Hopkins University. Department of Physics

Assistant in Physics; Associate in Physics; and Research Associate.

Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory

Researcher, Manhattan Project.

Manhattan Project (U.S.)

Researcher, Columbia University SAM Laboratory and Los Alamos Laboratory.

Sarah Lawrence College

Lecturer.

University of California, San Diego. Department of Physics

Professor.

University of Chicago. Department of Physics

Voluntary Professor and Professor.

Professional Activities & Affiliations

National Academy of Sciences (U.S.)

Member.

Universität Göttingen

Obtained PhD (1930).

Resources

Archival Resources

Author

Hans Eduard Suess papers, 1875-1989.

Mandeville Special Collections Library

University of California, San Diego

9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA

Lectures on kinetic theory [microform], 1928.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Maria Goeppert Mayer autobiography for Les Prix Nobel, circa 1964.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Maria Goeppert Mayer papers, 1925-1973.

Mandeville Special Collections Library

University of California, San Diego

9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA

Nobel laureates on scientific research project : oral history, 1964.

Oral History Research Office

Columbia University

Box 20, Room 801 Butler Library, New York, NY 10027, USA

Oral history interview with Maria Goeppert Mayer, 1962 February 20.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history joint interview with James Franck and Hertha Sponer-Franck, 1962 July 9 to 14.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Reminiscences of Maria Goeppert Mayer : oral history, 1964.

Oral History Research Office

Columbia University

Box 20, Room 801 Butler Library, New York, NY 10027, USA

Subject

A tribute to Maria Goeppert Mayer for the Phi Chapter of Sigma Delta Epsilon, circa 1972.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Contributions of 20th century women to physics [online resource], 1900-1976.

University Research Library. Department of Special Collections

University of California, Los Angeles

Los Angeles, CA 90024-1575, USA

Invitational letter to Maria Göppert Mayer to attend conference on problems of quantum physics in Copenhagen, 1951.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Jacob Bigeleisen correspondence and manuscripts, 1986-1987.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Karl Herzfeld papers, 1914-1977.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Maria Goeppert Mayer: The 50th Anniversary of Her Nobel Prize [sound recording], 2013 April 13.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Maria Mayer Memorial Session [sound recording], 1973 January 31.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Bertha Swirles, Lady Jeffreys, 1997 March.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Edward Teller, 1983 September 9.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with John Archibald Wheeler, 1967 April 5.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Joseph Edward Mayer, 1975 January 24.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Maria Stein, 1974 May 28.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Melba Phillips, 1997 December 2.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Per Olov Löwdin, 1975 January 27.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Robert Serber, 1967 February 10.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Oral history interview with Thomas Lauritsen, 1967 February 16.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Published Resources

Author

Elementary theory of nuclear shell structure / [by] Maria Goeppert [and] J. Hans D. Jensen.

Statistical mechanics / [by] Joseph Edward Mayer ... and Maria Goeppert Mayer …

Subject

"From Natural History to the Nuclear Shell Model: Chemical Thinking in the Work of Mayer, Haxel, Jensen, and Suess," Physics in Perspective 6 (2004): 295-309

"Maria Goeppert Mayer (1906-1972)," in Out of the Shadows: Contributions of Twentieth-Century Women to Physics, ed. Nina Byers and Gary Williams (New York: Cambridge University Press: 2006), 202-212

"Maria Goeppert Mayer: 1906-1972", Biographical Memoirs of the National Academy of Sciences

"Maria Goeppert Mayer: Atoms, Molecules, and Nuclear Shells," Physics Today 39 (1986): 44-49

A life of one's own; three gifted women and the men they married.

Maria Goeppert Mayer Nobel Prize biography.

Maria Goeppert Mayer Physics Today obituary.