Sameera Moussa

by Salma from Cairo

 Sameera Moussa (
Sameera Moussa (

My hero is Dr.Sameera Moussa , the First Egyptian nuclear researcher (1917-1952). Sameera Moussa was born in Egypt in Gharbia Governorate in 1917.

She was an outstanding Egyptian scientist and the only Egyptian to be given access to the secret laboratories in the United States as a pioneering nuclear researcher.Her mother went through a fierce battle against cancer. After her mother's death, her father moved with her to Cairo . Sameera Moussa attended Kaser El-Shok primary school and then she joined the Banat El-Ashraf school,She got high grades in her secondary education, and could have gotten into engineering, but she insisted on joining the Faculty of Sciences at Cairo University.

Sameera Moussa's library ,contained books in all branches of science - was dedicated after her death to the Atomic Department of the National Research Center . The library also contained a selection of literary works, musical notes as well as Arabic and foreign books by eminent men of letters such as Taha Hussein, al-Jahiz, al-Aqqad, Tawfeeq el-Hakeem, Jean-Jacque Rousseau - to name but a few. The library was also rich in her own writings, scientific essays on Madame Curie, human struggle and other themes. In one of her articles, she said, "Science should integrate with philosophy reality is not always that plain but rather complicated if not sometimes misleading and challenging".

In 1939 Sameera Moussa obtained a B.Sc. in biology, First Class Honors, from the Faculty of Science where she was appointed as a demonstrator. Then she became the first Assistant Professor at the same faculty and the first woman to hold a university post. Being the first to obtain a Ph.D. degree in atomic radiation Sameera Moussa believed in "Atoms for Peace" and said 'I'll make nuclear treatment as available and as cheap as Aspirin'. She worked hard for this purpose and throughout her intensive research, she came up with a historic equation that would help break the atoms of cheap metals such as copper, paving the way for a cheap nuclear bombs. She organized the Atomic Energy for Peace Conference and sponsored a call for setting an international conference under the banner "Atom for Peace", where many prominent scientists were invited. The conference made a number of recommendations for setting up a committee to protect against nuclear hazards, for which she strongly advocated. She also volunteered to help treat cancer patients at various hospitals especially since her mother went through a fierce battle against this disease.

In recognition to her efforts, she was granted many awards -abstract and concrete. Among them were: - In 1953, she was honored by the Egyptian Army. - In 1981, she was awarded the Order of Science and Arts, First Class, by Late President Anwar Sadat. - A laboratory at the Faculty of Science and a school in her village were named after her. - The Egyptian TV transmitted a serial titled "The Immortal" dramatizing her biography. - In 1998, while celebrating the Egyptian Woman Day, it was decided to establish a cultural solace in her birth place bearing her name. - A book was published covering her life and scientific contributions. On August 5, 1952 Sameera Moussa died in a mysterious accident during her visit to USA.

Page created on 5/20/2014 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 5/20/2014 12:00:00 AM

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