Samira Moussa was born on March 3, 1917 in Senbo al-Kubra in Egypt’s Gharbia Governorate. Her father had a high profile among his fellowmen and his house was like a council where the villagers would meet to discuss all kinds of topics.
Samira was no ordinary girl. Throughout her school years, Samira was awarded accolades of excellence. In 1935, she became the first female student to rank first in the countrywide secondary school certificate examination. This was an unprecedented achievement, as girls were only allowed to take this exam at home, a ruling that changed in 1925.
She was sent to Britain where she furthered he nuclear radiation studies and obtained a PhD in radiology and the effect of X-ray radiation on various materials. Although the duration of the mission was three years, she completed her PhD in less than two, thus becoming the first Arab woman to ever obtain a doctorate. She was then dubbed the Miss Curie of the East.
Samira Moussa believed in having equal rights to possess nuclear weapons so that no nation could impose its power on another, for in order for any country to effectively advocate peace, it should be able to speak from a position of power. She noted Israel’s interest in acquiring nuclear weapons in its pursuit to become the only nuclear power in the region. This further advanced her idea on the importance of keeping up with progress and being privileged with the same weapons, especially after the woeful wars she witnessed and the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. She hoped that atomic energy would be harnessed for the good of man especially in the field of medical treatment. Samira volunteered to help treat patients at the Qasr Al-Aini hospitals.
In 1951, Sameera Moussa was awarded a scholarship to study up-to-date atomic research at the University of California. In recognition of her unmatched intellect and talent, she was allowed access to the secret US atomic facilities. She turned down offers to stay in the US and acquire American nationality and instead assured that Egypt was waiting for her.
Three months after the declaration of the state of Israel in 1948, she founded the Atomic Energy Commission and participated in the Student Society for Public Education, which aimed at eradicating illiteracy in rural Egypt.
Enemies did not want to derive benefit from the genius of the Egyptian scientist acknowledged worldwide. And so, scientist Samira Moussa was assassinated in a car accident that remains a mystery. The incident took place following an invitation she received to visit a nuclear plant in a Californian suburb on August 15, 1952. While travelling on a high cliff road en route to California, a truck suddenly appeared and hit the car, pushing it off the cliff. The driver of the car in which Samira was riding managed to get out of the vehicle and disappeared. Investigation showed that the driver was using a false ID and that the management of the nuclear plant had not sent anybody to collect Samira. The media still has a big interest in the Samira Moussa case and observers claim that the assassination was masterminded by the Israeli Mossad to prevent Moussa from transporting nuclear energy to Egypt and the Arab World.
In her last letter she wrote: “I have been able to visit nuclear plants in America, and when I return to Egypt, I will be of great service to my country and will be able to serve the cause of peace.” On her return, Samira had intended to set up her laboratory in the Al-Haram area.