Following Adorageek’s tradition of celebrating woman heroes, and in conjunction of the celebration of International Women Day on 8 March, let us celebrate Sameera Moussa, the woman hero of March!
Born on 3 March 1917, she was an Egyptian nuclear physicist and held a doctorate in atomic radiation. Sameera Moussa’s lifelong passion was to make the medical use of nuclear technology affordable to all. She organized the Atomic Energy for Peace Conference and sponsored a call for setting an international conference under the banner “Atoms for Peace”. She was also called Mother of Atomic Energy.
During her secondary education, Sameera Moussa earned high grades that was enough to get her to enter the engineering faculty, Sameera insisted that she joined the Faculty of Science at Cairo University. On 1939, at the age of 22, Sameera Moussa obtained a BSc in radiology with first class honors after researching the effects of X-ray radiation on various materials. She became the lecturer at the faculty at the help of Dr. Moustafa Mousharafa, the first dean of the faculty. Later, Sameera Moussa became the first assistant professor at the same faculty and the first woman to hold a university post, being the first to obtain a PhD in atomic radiation.
Sameera Moussa believed in “Atoms for Peace” and was known to say “My wish is to see nuclear treatment as available and as cheap as Aspirin”. 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. Sameera Moussa also volunteered to help treat cancer patients at various hospitals especially since her mother went through a fierce battle against the same disease.
Sameera Moussa received a scholarship from the Fulbright Atomic Program of California University. In recognition of her pioneering nuclear research, Sameera Moussa was even given permission to visit the secret US atomic facilities, the first non-American to be granted of such permission. She had several position offers but turned them down, because the offers required her to live at the United States and become an American citizenship. “Egypt, my dear homeland, is waiting for me,” she said.
Sameera Moussa inspired us because women can also be a pioneer in science, even in a field as difficult as atomic energy. The sky is not even a limit! Sameera Moussa also inspired us by her passion to give back to her community, by striving to make nuclear treatment as cheap as possible.
Need other kinds of inspiration? Just check Adorageek’s other posts!