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Biographical Memoirs: Volume 77
GERTRUDE SCHARFF GOLDHABER
July 14, 1911–February 2, 1998
BY PETER D. BOND AND ERNEST HENLEY
THROUGHOUT HER LIFE Gertrude Scharff Goldhaber had to struggle against tyranny and discrimination, as a child during World War I, as a Jew in Nazi Germany, as a woman in a scientific discipline when there were few such practitioners, and as the wife of another scientist at a time of strict nepotism rules. That she was so successful is a testament to her talent, drive, and will.
A person's life has peaks and valleys, sometimes so gentle that even the one living that life is barely aware of them, and sometimes so sharp that a mere glance is enough to bring them into high relief. Neither type is better or worse, but the dramatic form gives clearer insight into character, the most important thing one can learn about any person. Trude's life definitely belongs in the dramatic category.
We knew Trude, as she was called by her friends, above all as a dedicated physicist. She was often passing on news about a recent advance, whether hers or others. Despite all the hardships she endured, she was predictably cheerful. Probably, her happy marriage and family life helped her achieve an ever-cheerful disposition.
Gertrude Scharff was born in Mannheim, Germany, on July 14 (Bastille Day), 1911, just a short time before the