Bachelor of Arts, Mount Holyoke College, 1948, Doctor of Science (honorary), 1978. Doctor of Philosophy, University of California-Berkeley, 1952. Staff scientist United States Naval Research Defense Laboratory, San Francisco, 1952-1953.
Fellow University of California-Berkeley, 1953-1954. Research associate Columbia University, New York City, 1954-1957, instructor, 1957-1959. Assistant professor BrandeisU., Waltham, Massachusetts, 1959-1962, adjunct associate professor, 1962-1963.
Staff member Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, 1963-1969, senior research scientist, 1969-1972. Professor physics,1972-1994. Professor emerita, 1994.
She is professor emerita at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the physics department and Laboratory for Nuclear Science, and is an activist for women's participation in the sciences. Dr. Kistiakowsky is an expert in experimental particle physics and observational astrophysics. Her professional career began in the nuclear chemistry field, later moving to nuclear physics, and then particle physics, and finally astrophysics.
She began her career at MIT in 1963 and was the first woman appointed MIT professor of physics. Early Kistiakowsky's early education in the sciences was greatly influenced by her father. He made special arrangements so that she could spend summers in Los Alamos with him where he was working on the Manhattan Project.
During this time she was also attending Mount Holyoke College where "she excelled in chemistry and math, just like her father. 'He told me very seriously that I should find something to do that would support me and not rely on getting married and finding someone who would support me.'"
Prior to working at MIT, Kistiakowsky worked at Columbia University as a research fellow assisting a nuclear chemist in the chemistry department. It was at Columbia that she made the switch from chemistry to physics, finding support to become a research associate in the physics department.
She then worked at Brandeis University for a short time as an assistant professor before starting work at MIT. She was Senior Research Scientist in the MIT Department of Physics from 1969 to 1971. In 1972 she was the first woman appointed MIT professor of physics. In 1969 she co-founded the Boston area group Women in Science and Engineering (WISE), a precursor to the Boston chapter of the Association for Women in Science (AWIS).
Kistiakowsky served as chair or member on numerous MIT committees and groups relating to women at MIT and affirmative action at MIT, including the Women's Forum, and the Ad Hoc Committee on the Role of Women at MIT. Other committees that she has been involved in include: the American Physical Society's Committee on the Status of Women in Physics, the National Research Council Conference on Women in Science and Engineering, and the Association for Women in Science, Women in Science and Engineering.
Fellow American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Physical Society (councilor 1974-1977). Member Association for Women in Science (president 1982-1983), Phi Beta Kappa (visiting scholar 1983-1984, senator 1988-1996), Sigma Xi (lecturer 1990-1992).
Married Gerhard Emil Fischer, June 16, 1951 (divorced 1970). Children: Marc Laurenz Fischer, Karen Marie Fischer.