Chien-Shiung Wu

ChienWu

Women's History Month - March 25th

Often regarded as the “First Lady of Physics”, Dr. Chien-Shiung Wu received numerous honors, awards and honorary degrees for her accomplishments. During World War II, her work involving nuclear fission caught the attention of the American government which resulted in her invitation to contribute to the Manhattan Project (a secret project to develop the atomic bomb) at Columbia University. Wu contributed to the development of a process that enriched uranium ore, and thus. providing large amounts of uranium fuel for the bomb. Following the war, Wu stayed at Columbia and continued to conduct research. In 1957, she and her colleagues overthrew a law of symmetry in physics called the principle of conservation of parity. It was Wu’s observations that led to disproving this law, but Wu’s contributions were not recorded and she was not included in 1957 Nobel Peace Prize that her colleagues received. Despite that, Wu was recognized by many others as she continued to teach and conduct nuclear research until her retirement in 1981. Before her death, she lectured in various places encouraging young women to participate in scientific fields.