Heroines of Modern Physics

March Meeting 2010


James Riordon, APS
Jason Socrates Bardi, AIP
Phillip Schewe, AIP


Meeting Press Releases

A "Periodic Table" of Biosensors
A Nanoscale Bean-Counter for Viruses
AC/DC Power Converter as Wide as a Human Hair
Blood Clot Glue
Cooperation, Cheating, and the Games that Yeast Play
Highlighted Sessions
Infrared Pictures with a Digital Camera
Magnetic Tuberculosis Detector
Nanotube Toxicity
New Technique for Measuring the Strength of a Cell
Optimization and Biological Physics
Press Conference Schedule
Solar Cells and Cities of The Future
Solid Metal Batteries
The Flow of Particles in a Room
Topological Insulators
Using DNA as Building Blocks
World's Fastest Transistors

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A course at Xavier University called "Women who shaped modern physics" is aimed at undergraduate, non-physics majors. One of the scientists covered is Rosalind Franklin, whose historic x-ray pictures of DNA molecules helped to reveal their helical structure. Heidrun Schmitzer (paper K1.21) will describe how she and her colleagues bring this work to life in the lab. Instead of shooting X-rays at crystallized DNA, students will shoot laser light at the springs used in ballpoint pens. The structure of the springs will be deduced from diffraction patterns left on a screen 12 feet away. The diffraction pattern, says Schmitzer, looks strikingly similar to the famous Photo 51. Other topics in the course include Marie Curie and Radioactivity (the students measure the half-life of silver), Lise Meitner and Nuclear Fission (which is staged with ping pong balls), Jocelyn Burnell and Pulsars, and Maria Goeppert-Mayer and the Structure of the Atomic Nucleus.

Related March Meeting Session

Gray arrow   Abstract: K1.00020 : How Rosalind Franklin Discovered the Helical Structure of DNA: Experiments in diffraction

About APS

The American Physical Society is the leading professional organization of physicists, representing more than 48,000 physicists in academia and industry in the United States and internationally. APS has offices in College Park, MD (Headquarters), Ridge, NY, and Washington, D.C. 

About AIP

Headquartered in College Park, MD, the American Institute of Physics is a not-for-profit membership corporation chartered in New York State in 1931 for the purpose of promoting the advancement and diffusion of the knowledge of physics and its application to human welfare.