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Nuclear Physics

Photo of Berta Karlik

Berta Karlik

Additional Information

Some Important Contributions:

Discovered the natural occurrence of isotopes of astatine   At218, 216, 215   (Z=85)   by observation of their radioactive alpha particle decays,   with T. Bernert; c.f., MISSING ELEMENTS IN THE PERIODIC TABLE .

Measured the uranium content of sea water by observing the ultraviolet flourescence of sodium chloride which is activated by the uranium,   with F. Hernegger.

Some Important Publications:

"An Alpha-Radiation Ascribed to Element 85," S.B.Akad. Wiss. Wien, 152:Abt. IIa (Nos. 6-10) 103-110(1943), with T. Bernert.

"Element 85 in the Natural Disintegration Series," Z. Phys., 123: (Nos. 1-2) 51-72 (1944), with T. Bernert.

"Uranium Content of Seawater," Akad. Wiss. Wien, Ber, 144:2a (Nos.5-6) 217-225 (1935), with F. Hernegger.


Haitinger Prize of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, 1934

Haitinger Prize of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, 1947

Prize of the City of Vienna, 1951

Corresponding Member, Academy of Sciences, Göteborg [3rd woman along with M. Curie and L. Meitner]

Corresponding Member, Academy of Sciences, Vienna

Member, Austrian Academy of Sciences, 1973

Member, Leopoldina Academy, Germany, 1975.


1933-74 Institute for Radium Research, Vienna
1945- Provisional Director, Institute for Radium Research and Nuclear Physics, Vienna
1947-74 Director, Institute for Radium Research and Nuclear Physics, Vienna
1950-56 Associate Professor, University of Vienna
1956-74 Professor of Experimental Nuclear Physics, University of Vienna


University of Vienna, 1927 (physics and mathematics)

Postgraduate studies in London, in the Laboratory of Sir William Bragg, Cambridge, England and in the Curie Institute, Paris, France.

References consulted:

[rb1964wwa],[DBE1997kb], [59 WWWSE],[50 JT], [Elizabeth Rona's oral history, Niels Bohr Library].

Additional Information/Comments:

Elizabeth Rona, nuclear chemist, refers to her friend Berta Karlik in her oral history in the AIP Neils Bohr Library . Rona left Austria in 1941 because of Nazi persecution, and reports that Karlik, along with other old friends, urged her to do what she could to bring the United States into the war against the Germans.

Field Editor: C. W. Wong


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