Google Doodle celebrates Hedwig Kohn’s 132nd Birthday

Today’s Doodle by Hamburg-based guest artist Carolin Löbbert celebrates the life and science of the pioneering physicist

The courageous physicist, who fled Germany amid World War II, helped develop techniques to identify and understand atoms.

Trailblazing physicist Hedwig Kohn smashed STEM stereotypes and wound up one of just three ladies to achieve a university teaching position in German prior to the second World War. On Friday, the Google Doodle celebrates what would have been her 132nd birthday.

Kohn was born in 1887 and got her doctorate in 1913 at 20 years old after of training under notable atomic physicists Otto Lummer and Rudolf Ladenburg. In 1930, she was given “Habilitation” at the university – the term used to portray academics who had the able to teach at university.

As per the Jewish Women’s Archive, Kohn was expelled from her position at the University of Breslau in 1933 because she was Jewish. As World War II drew closer and the Kristallnacht was carried out the German Nazi gathering, it became untenable for Kohn to stay in the nation – however it was likewise difficult to leave.

With the help of the American Association of University Women and the International Federation of University Women, just as her former associate Ladenburg, Kohn was able to negotiate a visa and teaching position in the US. She worked at the Women’s College in North Carolina, before proceeding onward to Wellesley, Massachusetts and completing her career at Duke University. She left a permanent imprint on the physics world, having contributed to a number of publications on flame spectronomy and a leading teaching publication on radiometry.

Kohn passed away in 1964.

The Doodle was drawn by guest artist Carolin Löbbert and features a stylized Kohn in a laboratory measuring emission spectra, notwithstanding to atomic structures and a handful of beakers. Early concepts of the Doodle are available at Google’s Doodle homepage.