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St. Clair County Community College Library

Women in Science

Chien-Shiung Wu (1912 - 1997)

Chien-Shiung Wu (1912-1997) in 1963 - Restoration

Chien-Shiung Wu was born near Shanghai, China and attended primary school run by her father. She went on to study physics at university in Shanghai, moving to the United States after graduation to continue her academic career. She enrolled at the University of California, Berkely and completed her PhD in physics in 1940. 

She began teaching at Princeton University and Smith College, and in 1944, joined the famed Manhattan Project team at Columbis University. Her work included radiation detectors, and she helped develop the process for separating uranium metal into U-235 adn U-238 isotopes. She is thought to be the only Chinese physicist to have worked on the Manhattan Project team. 

Her research career continued at Columbia University, making numerous contributions to scientific discovery, including the confirmation of Fermi's theory of beta decay, and earned awards including the National Meda of Science, the Wolf Prize in Physics, and the first honorary doctorate awarded to a woman by Princeton University.  

Sources:  Smeltzer, Ronald K. "Chien-Shiung Wu." Atomic Heritage Foundation, Accessed 7 Feb. 2019.

Image credit: Science Service (Smithsonian Institution) - Restored by Adam Cuerden [No restrictions], via Wikimedia Commons

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