Burnt Marshmallows Taste Good

                                     Chien-Shiung Wu

“There is only one thing worse than coming home from the lab to a sink full of dirty dishes, and that is not going to the lab at all” 

  • Chien Shiung Wu was born in the Liuhe, Jiangsu province of China on May 29, 1912
  • She grew up in Taicang, China where her father was an advocate for girl’s education and founded a women’s school in China
  • In 1936, she graduated from the National Central University in Nanking China
  • After graduating she went to study physics at the University of California at Berkeley
  • In 1940, she received her Ph.D. and taught at both Smith College and Princeton University
  • In 1944, she was recruited by the U.S. government to work on the Manhattan Project at Columbia University
  • During this time, Chien helped developed a process of enriching uranium to be used as fuel
  • In 1956, Chien devised an experiment that helped disprove the Parity Law (a law of physics)
  • This experiment is still thought to be one of the most important developments in atomic and nuclear physics
  • Despite her research and experiments, Chien was not awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics
  • The honor went to her male colleagues instead
  • After the war, she continued to work at Columbia where she became the Dupin professor of physics in 1957
  • Chien continued to do research in atomic and nuclear physics, and the structure of hemoglobin
  • In 1975, Chien was awarded the National Medal of Science and became the first female president of the American Physical Society
  • Chien was also the first woman to receive an honorary doctorate degree from Princeton and she was the first woman to receive National Academy of Sciences Comstock Prize
  • She retired from teaching at Columbia in 1981
  • Chien is not only known for her work but she was also an advocate for women in science
  • Chien died on February 16, 1997 in New York

Sources: britannica, nwhm, aauw

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