For Albert Einstein she was “our Madame Curie”, for the Nazis an unwanted Jew and for the tabloid press “the mother of the atom bomb”. Only the second woman to receive a doctorate in physics, Lise Meitner graduated from the University of Vienna in 1906 and established herself in the male dominated science community. In 1938 she fled from the National Socialists and settled in Sweden, where she achieved her big breakthrough together with Otto Frisch: the discovery of the principle of nuclear fission. But the Nobel Prize she deserved eluded her. She spent the final years of her life in Cambridge. The authors paint a portrait of Meitner’s life against the backdrop of the rapid progress of nuclear physics and the great catastrophes of the 20th century, and provide new insights in the world of this unique scientist.