What to Know About Hedwig Kohn, the Subject of Today's Google Doodle


If you want to learn about underappreciated figures in science, politics, and the arts, keep tabs on the latest Google Doodles. Today, April 5, Google is celebrating what would have been the 132nd birthday of Hedwig Kohn with a Doodle honoring the barrier-breaking physicist.

Born in 1887 in Breslau (modern-day Wrocław, Poland), Kohn obtained her doctorate in physics in 1913, just five years after women in her country were officially allowed to pursue higher education. She made history by earning her credential to teach physics at a German university, something only two other women (Lise Meitner and Hertha Sponer) were certified to do before World War II.

Hedwig Kohn wasn't just notable for blazing trails for women in physics. She was also a Jewish woman living in Nazi Germany, and in 1933, she lost her university teaching position because she was Jewish. After working on research contracts for a few years, she immigrated to the U.S. in 1940 to escape Nazi persecution and find steady work.

In America, Kohn continued to share her passion for physics with students. She taught at the Woman’s College of the University of North Carolina and Wellesley College in Massachusetts. After retiring from teaching in 1952, she accepted a research associate position at Duke and did work on flame spectronomy. At the time of her death in 1964, Hedwig Kohn's research had led to more than 20 publications, one patent, and several textbook chapters on radiometry. Following World War II, the German government had awarded her with a pension and the title of professor emerita.

Hedwig Kohn paved the way for many female scientists to change the world in the past century. Here are just some of the women from recent history who made an impact in their scientific fields.

Read up on the subjects of some of Google's previous Doodles here.

Amazon's Under-the-Radar Coupon Page Features Deals on Home Goods, Electronics, and Groceries

Stock Catalog, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
Stock Catalog, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Now that Prime Day is over, and with Black Friday and Cyber Monday still a few weeks away, online deals may seem harder to come by. And while it can be a hassle to scour the internet for promo codes, buy-one-get-one deals, and flash sales, Amazon actually has an extensive coupon page you might not know about that features deals to look through every day.

As pointed out by People, the coupon page breaks deals down by categories, like electronics, home & kitchen, and groceries (the coupons even work with SNAP benefits). Since most of the deals revolve around the essentials, it's easy to stock up on items like Cottonelle toilet paper, Tide Pods, Cascade dishwasher detergent, and a 50 pack of surgical masks whenever you're running low.

But the low prices don't just stop at necessities. If you’re looking for the best deal on headphones, all you have to do is go to the electronics coupon page and it will bring up a deal on these COWIN E7 PRO noise-canceling headphones, which are now $80, thanks to a $10 coupon you could have missed.

Alternatively, if you are looking for deals on specific brands, you can search for their coupons from the page. So if you've had your eye on the Homall S-Racer gaming chair, you’ll find there's currently a coupon that saves you 5 percent, thanks to a simple search.

To discover all the deals you have been missing out on, head over to the Amazon Coupons page.

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The Northern Lights Storms Are Getting Names—and You Can Offer Up Your Suggestions

A nameless northern lights show in Ylläs, Finland.
A nameless northern lights show in Ylläs, Finland.
Heikki Holstila, Flickr // CC BY-ND 2.0

While all northern lights are spectacular, they’re not all spectacular in the same way. Aurora borealis, or “northern dawn,” occurs when electrons in the magnetic field surrounding Earth transfer energy to oxygen and nitrogen molecules in the atmosphere. The molecules then emit the excess energy as light particles, which create scintillating displays whose colors and shapes depend on many known and unknown factors [PDF]—type of molecule, amount of energy transferred, location in the magnetosphere, etc.

Though the “storms” are extremely distinct from each other, they haven’t been named in the past the way hurricanes and other storms are christened. That’s now changing, courtesy of a tourism organization called Visit Arctic Europe. As Travel + Leisure reports, the organization will now christen the strongest storms with Nordic names to make it easier to keep track of them.

“There are so many northern lights visible in Arctic Europe from autumn to early spring that we started giving them names the same way other storms are named. This way, they get their own identities and it’s easier to communicate about them,” Visit Arctic Europe’s program director Rauno Posio explained in a statement.

Scientists will be able to reference the names in their studies, much like they do with hurricanes. And if you’re a tourist hoping to check out other people’s footage of the specific sky show you just witnessed, searching by name on social media will likely turn up better results than a broad “#auroraborealis.”

Visit Arctic Europe has already given names to recent northern lights storms, including Freya, after the Norse goddess of love, beauty, and fertility, and Sampo, after “the miracle machine and magic mill in the Finnish national epic poem, ‘Kalevala.’” A few other monikers pay tribute to some of the organization’s resident “aurora hunters.”

But you don’t have to be a goddess or an aurora hunter in order to get in on the action. Anybody can submit a name (along with an optional explanation for your suggestion) through the “Naming Auroras” page here. It’s probably safe to assume that submissions related to Nordic history or culture have a better chance of being chosen, but there’s technically nothing to stop you from asking Visit Arctic Europe to name a northern lights show after your dog.

[h/t Travel + Leisure]