Lise Meitner was born on November 7, 1878, in Vienna, Austria. She was the third of eight children of a Jewish family.
When Lise was 14 she was no longer to go to school so she stayed at home, read books, and played piano. After a while she asked her father if she could take a science degree at the University of Vienna.
Lise Meitner went to University of Vienna in October 1901. She was 22 years old and decided to major in physics. Soon she found herself inspired by Ludwig Boltzmann. Almost all her physics classes were taught by him.
Meitner wrote Curie asking for a research position in her Paris laboratory, but no work was available. She spent her days teaching high school physics. In the evenings she researched the new phenomenon of radioactivity at the university’s physics laboratory.
She turned to Max Planck at the University of Berlin. She hoped to study radioactivity, a topic on the borderline of physics and chemistry. In 1909, Meitner and Hahn discovered radioactive recoil, finding that when an atomic nucleus emits an alpha particle, the nucleus will recoil like a gun that has fired a bullet.