Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Guest Blogger: Tom Weston, Author of Fission

Our special guest today is Tom Weston, author of the historical novel, Fission. I've read Tom's young adult novels, First Night and The Elf of Luxembourg, both of which have a large amount of history in them, so I wasn't surprised that Tom's next novel was an historical--one of my favorite genres.

I had wanted to review this book, but my TBR pile is the largest it has ever been, and it wouldn't have been fair to request it knowing how backed up I am on reviews. I will, however, be getting to this book sometime in the future, as it sounds fascinating.

Lise Meitner:

a physicist who never lost her humanity

First they tried to deny her.

Then they tried to destroy her.

But she survived to discover nuclear fission and spark the race for the atomic bomb.

The clue is to be found in her headstone. No, it isn’t the physics. For, as much as I like science, the scribbling of mathematical equations on blackboards and the clicking of Geiger-counters does not make for riveting story-telling. What drew me to the Lise Meitner story is the humanity.

Imagine a story of hate and greed, intrigue and danger, war and destruction, the slaughter of the innocents on a biblical scale and the collapse of empire. And imagine at the centre of it all one little woman, brilliant but shy, victimized but resolute, betrayed but ultimately vindicated. What a story that would make! Well, you don’t have to imagine it, because that is the Lise Meitner story. And I didn’t have to invent any of it . . .

. . . it’s all true.

2 Women (not named Lise) who should have received the Nobel Prize by Tom Weston

In my novel, Fission, I tell the story of Lise Meitner, who discovered nuclear fission, but watched another get the Nobel Prize for the discovery. In fact, Lise was nominated for the Nobel no less than 15 times, for the fission discovery but also for her work prior to that discovery – and ignored by the Nobel Committee every time. At the heart of the story is a complicated web of sexism, bigotry, power and politics. But her story, alas, is not an isolated case. Many other women should also have been honoured with Nobel Prizes for their contributions science. Here are 2 of them.

Emmy Noether (1882 – 1935):
If Lise Meitner was the mother of the atom bomb, Emmy Noether could be called the mother of algebra. And if you’ve ever complained about algebra at school, you have Emmy to thank. She was a contemporary of Meitner and shared with Lise the disadvantages of being female and Jewish in Nazi Germany. She published under a male pseudonym and was only able to lecture at the University of Göttingen by scheduling classes under the names of her male colleagues. When the Nazis banished her from the classroom, she continued to lecture in secret in her apartment. She fled Germany for the USA in 1933, but died 2 years later after complications from surgery. The Nazis wasted no time in ‘disappearing’ her from the science books. Apart from inventing the field of Abstract Algebra, she should have won a Nobel for her work on General Relativity and a second for Quantum Physics, but the Committee condemned her as a mathematician and therefore ineligible.

Rosalind Franklin (1920 – 1958)
In 1962, James Watson and Francis Crick won the Nobel for ‘discovering’ the structure of DNA, which they shared with the world in 1953. What they should also have shared was the fact that their discovery was based on the then unpublished work of Rosalind Franklin; work which they took without her knowledge, and for which they did not credit her, although she was a colleague. She even corrected the errors in their models for them. When word leaked out that Franklin was about to publish, Watson and Crick rushed out their version – a single page, without citing any proofs or credits. Watson and Crick beat Franklin to the Press by 11 days. Fortunately for the Nobel Committee, by 1962 Franklin was no longer alive and therefore ineligible.

Originally from England, Tom Weston now resides in Boston, Massachusetts. His works include the fantasy based, Alex and Jackie Adventures, and the collection of short stories, Tales from the Green Dragon Tavern.

Find Tom on the Web:

Web Site:
Trailer for Fission:

FISSION (Historical Fiction): published 2011 by tom weston media. Available in Hardcopy, Paperback and eBook:
Hardcopy: 329 pages, 6″ x 9″, ISBN 978-0-981-94135-6. MRP $26.95
Paperback: 329 pages, 6″ x 9″, ISBN 978-0-981-94137-0. MRP $10.95
eBook/Kindle/Nook: ISBN 978-0-981-94138-7. MRP $6.95

Find Fission at (including Kindle):
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Purchase an autographed copy of FISSION from the publisher at:
A portion of all sales of Fission, no matter where purchased, go to the ‘Because I am a GiRL’ campaign by Plan, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping children since 1937. Visit PlanUSA at or get involved with your own national/regional Plan office.


Cheryl said...

Always great to have you here, Tom.

Wishing you the best,


kimba88 said...

I feel your pain regarding your TBR pile. This book looks interesting and I have marked it to read.

Tom Weston said...

Great to be here, Cheryl - and thank you for allowing me some space to spread the word about Lise Meitner.


Tom Weston