© 2001

Otto Hahn

Achievement and Responsibility

  • Authors

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-x
  2. Klaus Hoffmann
    Pages 1-13
  3. Klaus Hoffmann
    Pages 23-32
  4. Klaus Hoffmann
    Pages 33-40
  5. Klaus Hoffmann
    Pages 41-61
  6. Klaus Hoffmann
    Pages 63-81
  7. Klaus Hoffmann
    Pages 83-88
  8. Klaus Hoffmann
    Pages 89-102
  9. Klaus Hoffmann
    Pages 113-132
  10. Klaus Hoffmann
    Pages 133-153
  11. Klaus Hoffmann
    Pages 155-178
  12. Klaus Hoffmann
    Pages 179-192
  13. Klaus Hoffmann
    Pages 193-201
  14. Klaus Hoffmann
    Pages 203-210
  15. Klaus Hoffmann
    Pages 211-216
  16. Klaus Hoffmann
    Pages 217-225
  17. Klaus Hoffmann
    Pages 227-239

About this book


Otto Hahn (1879-1968) was awarded the 1944 Nobel Prize for Chemistry for his work on atomic fission: his work in Berlin in the 1930s and 1940s with Lise Meitner and Fritz Strassmann led to the discovery that uranium nuclei bombarded by neutrons undergo spontaneous fission, releasing enormous energies. This work, conveyed to England and the US by scientific refugees from Nazi Germany, led to the instigation of the Manhattan Project and the development of the Atomic Bomb.
Reviled by many after the war as one of the people responsible for the carnage at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Hahn had already begun to reflect on the social responsibility of scientists for their fundamental discoveries and the subsequent applications of the knowledge they create. Already during the war, Hahn had protested Nazi restrictions on Universities and researchers, and after the War, he became actively involved in efforts to restrict the spread of nuclear weapons.
In this volume Klaus Hoffmann discusses Hahn's contributions to science and his reflections of scientific and social responsibility. He concludes that Hahn's ideas can still serve as a foundation for responsible and moral actions by scientists.


Atom Isotop Neutron experiment physical sciences radioactivity

Bibliographic information


From the reviews of the first edition:

"J. Michael Cole translated this biography, which appeared in German on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the death of Otto Hahn. … the description of the life and thinking of this great scientist is fascinating and thrills everyone who takes an interest to read it. … the chronological course of events in his life, career, and his thinking is presented in such a gripping style, that it is hard to put the book down." (K.-E. Hellwig, Zentralblatt MATH, Vol. 1069, 2005)