Historical photographs

Meeting in Berlin From the Renaissance to today

Meeting in Berlin From the Renaissance to today


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Otto Hahn (1879-1968) He was born in Göttingen, Germany. In his youth he enjoyed the postwar German prosperity of the Franco-Prussian conflict, but at age 35 he had to face the First World War and at sixty with the second.

Hahn experienced social and political changes as radical as those that simultaneously occurred in the field of physics and chemistry. He saw how Newtonian mechanics had to go to relativist and, in the field of radioactivity, he learned of the discovery of radio in 1896 by Henri Becquerel (1852-1908) and the routine use of nuclear power plants in the 1960s.

During the Second World War, German universities lost many of their physicists due to Hitler's racial policies. Among them, many young teachers who were not yet well known. The photograph shows a meeting in Berlin, shortly before the disruption, with several illustrious characters of physics, chemistry and astronomy, including Einstein, Franck, Haber, Hahn and Hertz.

The discovery that uranium could suffer a fission that divided it into smaller fragments composed of lighter elements marked the beginning of atomic energy. Hahn was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1944 for his work on nuclear fission.

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Album: Images from the history Gallery: From the Renaissance to today