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Abstract Ellen Hippeli taught high school mathematics for nearly a decade and had just received her masters degree in education when, in 1952, she left her civilian career to join the United States Air Force. Following basic training, she was sent to the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School and in 1955 earned a bachelors degree in physics, specializing in nuclear engineering effects. Hippeli spent several years at the USAF Special Weapons Center, where she tested the effects of nuclear radiation on humans....