Hedwig Kohn was born on April 5, 1887, and her death was on March 26, 1964. She is a pioneer in physics and one of three women who were habilitated in physics before the Second World War. During the Nazi regime, she and two other physicists, Lise Meitner and Hertha Sponer, had to leave Germany.
Name: Hedwig Kohn
Birthday: 5 April 1887
Death on: 26 March 1964
Age: 76 Years old
Born on: Wrocław, Poland
Nationality: German and American
Childhood and Education
Hedwig Kohn was born in Breslau in Silesia. Her parents were Georg Kohn (1850-1932), a fine cloth wholesaler, and Helene Hancke (1859-1926), a member of the wealthy Wroclaw family. Hedwig entered the University of Wroclaw in 1907 and became the second woman in physics. She earned her doctorate in physics in 1913 with Otto Lummer and was soon appointed as Lummers assistant. During the First World War, she remained at the University Institute of Physics and was habilitated in 1930.
Escape from Germany
Corn was dismissed from office in 1933 because the Nazis had expelled the Jews from civil service. She survived when she fulfilled a contract for applied research in the lighting industry. In 1938, she found herself out of work and resources and was about to become a Holocaust victim. It was eventually recognized as temporary status at three women’s colleges in the United States with the help of Rudolf Ladenburg (1882-1952), Lise Meitner, Hertha Sponer, and the American Women’s Association (AAUW). She received a visa and left Germany in July 1940.
In an interview with the American Institute of Physics, Corne said that her gender did not cause her to be treated differently from her male colleague. She explained that she would always trust her intelligence and that the opportunity for female scientists would continue to grow over time.
Contribution to science
Lummer trained Kohn by quantifying the light intensity from broadband light sources such as “black bodies” as well as from discrete lines of atoms and molecules. She further developed such a method and developed a method to extract information from intensity measurements and from the line shape. She wrote 270 pages in Germany in the most important physics texts of the 1930s and 1940s, received a patent and wrote numerous articles in scientific journals. Some of them were still quoted in the 1980s. Two of her students became professors in Germany.