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Curie, Meitner, Lamarr: Indivisible

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Monash University Clayton Campus

Wellington Road, Clayton, VIC, Australia

Tuesday August 15 in Lecture Theatre Central 1 (C1), Wednesday August 16 in the Monash Cinema

Australia

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Curie, Meitner, Lamarr: Indivisible

Radiation. Nuclear fission. Frequency hopping.

Three outstanding pioneers represent the achievements of women in the field of science and technology: The double Nobel Price winner and discoverer of radioactivity Marie Curie (1867- 1934), the Austrian-Swedish nuclear physicist Lise Meitner (1878-1968) and the Viennese Hollywood actress Hedy Lamarr (1914-2000) with the invention of frequency hopping.

Incidents of their lives, achievements and impediments as well as their research and passion for their work are at the centre of the theatre play „Curie_Meitner_Lamarr_indivisible“, produced by the Viennese association portraittheater. Illustrated with music and videos, the performance presents an entertaining portrait of three extraordinary women in history. The theatre performance, directed by Sandra Schüddekopf, with Anita Zieher playing all three women, has been a great success in Austria, Belgium, Germany, Iran, Poland, Spain, Switzerland (CERN), Romania and the United States.


Three women in the field of science and technology

Marie Curie (1867-1934) left Poland to study mathematics and physics at the Sorbonne in Paris. Curie's efforts, achieved in collaboration with her husband Pierre Curie, led to the discovery of polonium and radium. Curie herself coined the word radioactivity. Marie Curie made history when she became the first woman to receive two Nobel Prizes. The reception of the latter was at risk when an affair became publicly known, resulting in a major scandal.

Lise Meitner (1878-1968) was born in Vienna. After obtaining her doctoral degree in physics, she moved to Berlin to work with Max Planck. She started to work with radio- chemist Otto Hahn, who would become her close research partner for the next thirty years. 1938 she could escape from Germany and moved to Sweden. Meitner and her nephew Otto Robert Frisch delivered the first theoretical explanation for nuclear fission which was discovered by Otto Hahn and Fritz Straßmann. While Otto Hahn received the Nobel price for this work in 1946, Lise Meitner was left with the title „mother of the atomic bomb“.

Hedy Lamarr (1914-2000) was fascinated by technology all her life. At the age of 16 she dropped out of school to concentrate on becoming an actress. She garnered a degree of fame and notority after starring in the scandalous movie „Ecstase“. She married the munitions manufacturer Fritz Mandl, but eventually escaped from this marriage. She left for a career in Hollywood where she soon became known as „the most beautiful woman in the world“. Together with the avantgarde composer George Antheil she developed the frequency-hopping spread-sprectrum as a means to control torpedos. With the advent of mobile telephony their technology is widely used in modern wireless data transfer today.

Cast

portraittheater: The Viennese theatre group focuses on extraordinary persons, especially women, and brings their life and work to the stage. Various programmes (since 2006) about Hannah Arendt, Simone de Beauvoir, Bertha von Suttner, George Sand, Rosa Luxemburg. www.portraittheater.net

Sandra Schüddekopf, director: Over the period from 2001-2005 she worked as an assistant director at Burgtheater, Vienna. Since 2005 she has worked as a freelance director at Schauspielhaus Graz, Theater Drachengasse, Munich Kammerspiele, Schauspielhaus Vienna and at the Mainz State Theatre, where she won the director's prize in 2009. Since 2008 she heads the Retzhofer Dramapreis.

Anita Zieher, actress, chairwoman of portraittheater: After studying politics and communication in Salzburg she finished acting school in Vienna. In the productions of portraittheater she played Hannah Arendt, Simone de Beauvoir, Bertha von Suttner, George Sand, Rosa Luxemburg, Marie Curie, Lise Meitner and Hedy Lamarr. She is the recipient of many prizes as an improvplayer and comedian (Zieher & Leeb). www.anitazieher.at.

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Date and Time

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Monash University Clayton Campus

Wellington Road, Clayton, VIC, Australia

Tuesday August 15 in Lecture Theatre Central 1 (C1), Wednesday August 16 in the Monash Cinema

Australia

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