Queen of Physics
How Wu Chien Shiung Helped Unlock the Secrets of the Atom
When Wu Chien Shiung was born in China 100 years ago, most girls did not attend school; no one considered them as smart as boys. But her parents felt differently. Giving her a name meaning “Courageous Hero,” they encouraged her love of learning and science. This engaging biography follows Wu Chien Shiung as she battles sexism and racism to become what Newsweek magazine called the “Queen of Physics” for her work on beta decay. Along the way, she earned the admiration of famous scientists like Enrico Fermi and Robert Oppenheimer and became the first woman hired as an instructor by Princeton University, the first woman elected President of the American Physical Society, the first scientist to have an asteroid named after her when she was still alive, and many other honors.
Teresa Robeson was born in Hong Kong, raised in Canada, and now writes and creates from her mini-homestead in southern Indiana where she lives with her scientist husband. A nonfiction winner of the We Need Diverse Books Mentorship Program, Teresa advocates for greater scientific and cultural literacy.
Rebecca Huang is an illustrator from Taiwan who currently lives in the Bay Area. Rebecca received her MFA degree in illustration from Academy of Art University in San Francisco. She is the author and illustrator of Bobo and the New Baby.
Winner - 2020 Asian/Pacific American Awards for Literature Picture Book!
“Wu Chien Shiung's story is remarkable—and so is the way this book does it justice.” —Booklist (Starred review)
"Robeson details the life of Wu Chien Shiung, a female physicist of the mid-20th century who completed important, often unrecognized work in beta decay. Fortunate to have parents who started a girls' school in China, Wu was educated like her brothers, attended university, and led student protests to 'resist Japanese invaders' just before WWII. After moving to the U.S., she investigates parity and beta decay in California and New York, often facing prejudice, and is passed over for the Nobel Prize as her male colleagues receive accolades. All the while, she perseveres, remembering her Baba's words: 'Just put your head down and/ keep walking forward.' Huang's stylized illustrations feature chalkboards full of equations and backdrops with swirling nuclear symbols. A list of Wu's "firsts" (first woman instructor at Princeton, for example) and a glossary of nuclear terms close this bittersweet biography of a brilliant woman." -- Publishers Weekly
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