Meet Wu Chien Shiung, famous physicist who overcame prejudice to prove that she could be anything she wanted. When Wu Chien Shiung was born in China 100 years ago, girls did not attend school; no one considered them as smart as boys. But her parents felt differently. Naming their daughter “Courageous Hero,” they encouraged her love of learning and science. This engaging biography follows Wu Chien Shiung as she battles sexism at home and racism in the United States to become what Newsweekmagazine called the “Queen of Physics” for her work on how atoms split. 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.
Booklist Reviews 2019 August *Starred Review* To have a girl child in China at the turn of the last century was not considered fortunate for most families. But the Wu family was not like most, and Chien Shiung was not only encouraged to go to school (her parents were educators), she was told she could be whatever she wanted. That support was taken to heart, and Robeson details in short but informative bites of text how the young woman extended her education, moving ever further from home and finally to the U.S., where she would delve deeply into her passion, the study of atoms. Writing biographies about people from different times and cultures can have challenges, but trying to explain physics—especially Wu's specialization, beta decay—in a picture-book biography certainly ups the ante. Robeson surmounts these almost effortlessly, getting to the heart of Wu's professional life and simply detailing her many accomplishments, as well as informing her audience how Wu was slighted when it came to awards like the Nobel Prize, with male colleagues taking the honors. The text's accessibility is supported and enhanced by Huang's collage-style artwork that captures Wu's dedication and willingness to take on leadership roles both in the scientific community and in leading political protests in China. Wu Chien Shiung's story is remarkable—and so is the way this book does it justice. A short biography and a dictionary of physics terms is appended. Grades 1-3. Copyright 2019 Booklist Reviews.