Her-story Thursdays: Chien-Shiung Wu
Known as the 'First Lady of Physics' Dr. Chien-Shiung Wu was born in China in 1912. Her father started an all girls school in China where she attended until she was in fourth grade. After transferring to a boarding school in Suzhou, China, Wu graduated in 1930 at the top of her class. She then went on to study at China's National Central University of Nankin where she graduated in 1936. At the time, there was no Physics graduate program in China so she moved to the United States, where she received her PhD from University of California, Berkeley in 1940.
During World War II, Wu was asked to work on The Manhattan Project, where she helped to develop the process of enriching uranium to fuel the bomb. After the war, Wu worked in Columbia as a research assistant.
In 1957, Wu discovered that the principle of conservation of parity was in fact incorrect and overthrew the law, but her data was not recorded and her two colleagues received a Nobel Prize instead.
Despite not being awarded the prize, she has received numerous other awards, including becoming the first Pupin Professor of Physics in 1973. She was the first woman elected to the American Physical Society and was the first women to receive the Cyrus B. Comstock Award of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.
Wu followed in her parents footsteps and lectured widely after her retirement from Columbia University in 1981. She continued to advocate for women in science until her death in 1997.