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Sameera Moussa (1917–52)

3 March 2017

The Egyptian nuclear scientist hoped her work would lead to affordable medical treatments and the peaceful use of atomic energy.

Sameera Moussa

Born on 3 March 1917, Sameera Moussa was the first female Egyptian nuclear scientist. She attended Cairo University, where she became the first woman to earn a doctorate in atomic radiation and the first woman to hold a teaching post. One of her goals was to make the medical use of nuclear technology affordable to all people. She is credited with saying, “I’ll make nuclear treatment as available and as cheap as Aspirin.” Moussa promoted the peaceful use of nuclear technology and organized the Atomic Energy for Peace Conference. While in the US on a Fulbright scholarship, Moussa became the first noncitizen to visit US atomic facilities, which caused a security controversy. Although she was offered the opportunity to stay and work in the US, Moussa decided to return to Egypt. However, she died in California on 5 August 1952 in a car accident. In 1953 she was honored posthumously by the Egyptian Army.

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