A tale of oblivion: Ida Noddack and the 'universal abundance' of matter

G. M. Santos
2014 Notes and Records: the Royal Society journal of the history of science  
Ida Noddack was a German chemist who in 1925, with her husband Walter Noddack, discovered element 75 (rhenium) and possibly element 43 (technetium). She is also known to have anticipated, by nine years, the possibility of nuclear fission. This article focuses on Ida's hypothesis that all elements are present in any mineral. Ida related the relative abundance of the elements in the Universe to hypothetical properties of the atomic nuclei. This allowed her to speculate about a different Periodic
more » ... different Periodic Table in which isotopes might be the cause of unexpected features of periodicity. Ida Noddack faced many professional obstacles because of her scientific nonconformity and gender, the resentment of physicists against intrusion in their field, and the overall difficulty of research under and after the Nazi regime.
doi:10.1098/rsnr.2014.0009 fatcat:kdtfr62ghnccbg6ew5tkygi2be