Maria Goeppert Mayer

Maria Goeppert Mayer persisted in her studies even when no university would employ her and went onto become a chemical physicist.

Her most famous contribution to modern physics is discovering the nuclear shell of the atomic nucleus, for which she won the Nobel Prize in 1963.

She worked on the Manhattan Project during World War II. She researched the chemical and thermodynamic properties of uranium hexafluoride and investigated the possibility of separating isotopes by photochemical reactions. At the time her method did not appear practical, but the development of lasers would later open the possibility of separation of isotopes by laser excitation.