Queen of Physics: How Wu Chien Shiung Helped Unlock the Secrets of the Atom

Publisher: Sterling Children’s Books

Review

This fascinating non-fiction picture book explores the life of an inspirational woman who overcame race and gender barriers to become an internationally acclaimed scientist. Wu Chien Shiung – meaning Courageous Hero – was born in China in 1912, at a time when many girls did not attend school. With the support of her forward-thinking parents, she received an education and eventually moved to the USA in 1936 to study the physics of atoms.

In addition to highlighting some of Wu Chien Shiung's incredible scientific achievements, the book also explores aspects of her personal life: the sadness she felt when leaving her family to pursue her studies; her determination to learn, despite the resistance she encountered; and her willingness to stand up to injustice, leading student protests against the oppressive Chinese government.

Scientific concepts are explained in a straightforward manner and at the end of the book is a summary of Chien Shiung’s life, a comprehensive glossary and suggestions for further reading. Written in an accessible style with distinctive illustrations, it is ideal for use at home or in the classroom to promote discussions on a range of subjects, including science, biography, race, gender, human rights and politics. 

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