Nuclear Physicist Chien-Shiung Wu

Valerie Bodden

Chien-Shiung Wu was a pioneer in the field of nuclear physics, and her work has had a lasting impact on the field. Born in China in 1912, Wu showed an early aptitude for mathematics and science, eventually becoming one of the few women to earn a PhD in physics from the University of California, Berkeley. Throughout her career, Wu tackled some of the most challenging problems in nuclear physics, including the question of whether parity was conserved in nuclear reactions. Her groundbreaking experiments showed that, contrary to prevailing theory, parity was not always conserved, a discovery that earned her the nickname “the First Lady of Physics.” Wu’s work continues to be an inspiration to young women pursuing careers in science and serves as a reminder that the boundaries of what is possible are always expanding.