Today is the birthday of physicist Leona Marshall Libby. Leona Woods was born in La Grange, Illinois in 1919. She earned a bachelor's degree in chemistry from the University of Chicago at age 19. Upon completing her doctoral thesis, Woods started working at Enrico Fermi's lab measuring the concentration of neutrons in nuclear physics experiments. On 2 December 1942 the 23-year-old Woods was the only woman present when the nuclear reactor Chicago Pile-1 achieved criticality. She continued work on the Manhattan Project throughout World War II. At the Hanford nuclear facility she helped diagnose the problem that was causing the reactor to shut down soon after achieving criticality. Following the war she worked at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York, and New York University.
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9 August 2016
© 2016 American Institute of Physics