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

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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, most girls did not attend school; no one considered them as smart as boys. But her parents felt differently. Giving her a name meaning “Courageous Hero,” they encouraged her love of learning and science. This 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, most girls did not attend school; no one considered them as smart as boys. But her parents felt differently. Giving her a name meaning “Courageous Hero,” they encouraged her love of learning and science. This engaging biography follows Wu Chien Shiung as she battles sexism and racism to become what Newsweek magazine called the “Queen of Physics” for her work on beta decay. 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.


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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, most girls did not attend school; no one considered them as smart as boys. But her parents felt differently. Giving her a name meaning “Courageous Hero,” they encouraged her love of learning and science. This 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, most girls did not attend school; no one considered them as smart as boys. But her parents felt differently. Giving her a name meaning “Courageous Hero,” they encouraged her love of learning and science. This engaging biography follows Wu Chien Shiung as she battles sexism and racism to become what Newsweek magazine called the “Queen of Physics” for her work on beta decay. 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.

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

  1. 5 out of 5

    Sunday

    In those days, girls were not sent to school, not considered as smart as boys, and certainly not encouraged to be scientists. But Mama and Baba Wu did not feel that way. They believed girls should go to school and could become anything they wanted. They knew their daughter would be smart and brave, that she would make a difference in the world. Baba named her Chien Shiung, which means "courageous hero." A powerful bio about a less familiar historical figure very worthy of knowing. Chien Shiung should ha In those days, girls were not sent to school, not considered as smart as boys, and certainly not encouraged to be scientists. But Mama and Baba Wu did not feel that way. They believed girls should go to school and could become anything they wanted. They knew their daughter would be smart and brave, that she would make a difference in the world. Baba named her Chien Shiung, which means "courageous hero." A powerful bio about a less familiar historical figure very worthy of knowing. Chien Shiung should have been awarded the Nobel Prize more than once but it was instead awarded to the “men” she helped with projects. That’s just a little bit of what this woman accomplished. She was a teacher, a researcher, a social activist and more. Robeson’s book tries to tackle it all. In the end, you get a very introductory sense of this person—she was strong, smart, courageous in a lot of ways. The onus is on the reader to go do more research. For example, there are two places where Robeson writes about Chien Shiung’s social activism—working against the Chinese government’s restrictions on speech and working to keep China out of WWII, but Robeson doesn’t give us a sense of what was accomplished with this activism. Robeson also describes Chien Shiung’s focus on “beta decay” as a physicist, but doesn’t explain how this impacted our everyday or at least some type of analogy that could be used by the young audience to make sense of this complicated concept. The audience for this book is listed as age 5 and up. As discussed earlier, there are some very complicated (and complex) concepts/issues discussed in this book including – the fact that the Chinese government punished and “perhaps even killed” activists, the concept of beta decay (oh, my), the concept of winning a Nobel Prize, etc. And the illustrations do not adequately support sense making of these. A better audience for this groups would be 3rd grade and up (so 8 years old and up). Fifth grade might be a good audience with an NGSS connection. NOT A DEAL BREAKER. With younger students, they will get Robeson’s gist. With older students, it’s an opportunity to ask questions and do more research as needed. With any audience, I think readers/listeners will finish with a sense of awe (especially if the adults present help them make sense of Chien Shiung’s life and the world she lived in along the way). LOVED THE AUTHOR'S NOTE which provides an even fuller picture of Dr. Chien Shiung's achievements. Wish there had been some photos included ;) Just a wish. Wish there had been a pronunciation guide for names - Wu Chien Shiung, the small town she lived in as a child – Liuhe, city of Suzhou. These are early in the book and might trip you up if you are reading aloud. Do some research in advance. INTERACTIVE READ ALOUD QUESTIONS – • What does the author mean when she writes, “Mama wept. Baba worried. But they knew their daughter had to brave the world to grow”? Based on what happens in the rest of the book, how did this come true? • The author states multiple times that Dr. Chien Shiung was “courageous" including that her name means "courageous hero." Do you agree that she was a courageous hero? What in the story makes you think so? • On the page that starts, “And, oh, physics!” what do the author and illustrator do to help us understand what “physics” is? • The quotes Dr. Chien Shiung’s Baba as saying, “Ignore the obstacles. Just put your head down and keep walking forward.” How did that play out in her life? I'd PAIR THIS BOOK WITH OTHER BIOS ABOUT STRONG WOMEN IN STEM FIELDS LIKE- Queen of Physics: How Wu Chien Shiung Helped Unlock the Secrets of the Atom (Robeson, 2019), Nothing Stopped Sophie: The Story of Unshakable Mathematician Sophie Germain (Bardoe, 2018), Joan Proctor, Dragon Doctor: The Woman Who Loved Reptiles (Valdez, 2018), Counting on Katherine (Becker, 2018) Caroline's Comet (McCully, 2017) Who Says Women Can't Be Doctors? (2013) Guiding questions for thinking across these titles might be, "How did these women persevere?" and "Why was it important that they persevered? How was the world changed as a result?" I've also reviewed each of these. Look for my goodreads shelf "bio-strong-women" at https://www.goodreads.com/review/list....

  2. 5 out of 5

    Marcie Flinchum

    I’ll be honest, my background in physics is limited to what I’ve learned on the TV show “Big Bang Theory.” Robeson’s amazing biography of Wu Chien Shiung tells the story of an amazing physicist, and she does so in a way that explains the importance of her work in physics and how groundbreaking it was. This is the story of passion and persistence buoyed by the love of a family who knew their daughter could be great and did everything in their power to provide her with a good education. Wu Chien S I’ll be honest, my background in physics is limited to what I’ve learned on the TV show “Big Bang Theory.” Robeson’s amazing biography of Wu Chien Shiung tells the story of an amazing physicist, and she does so in a way that explains the importance of her work in physics and how groundbreaking it was. This is the story of passion and persistence buoyed by the love of a family who knew their daughter could be great and did everything in their power to provide her with a good education. Wu Chien Shiung’s story is inspiring and needs to be read by all young budding scientists. Highly recommended.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Joan

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This will be so useful! I sometimes wonder if our kids grow up thinking Marie Curie was the only famous female scientist! Now there will be a nice alternative: Wu Chien Shiung! From a small village in China where the only thing she had going for her were two exceptional parents who believed that she had equal rights to an education as boys. To make sure she got an education, her parents started a school for girls, highly unusual at this time and place! She ended up going to UC Berkely (at least This will be so useful! I sometimes wonder if our kids grow up thinking Marie Curie was the only famous female scientist! Now there will be a nice alternative: Wu Chien Shiung! From a small village in China where the only thing she had going for her were two exceptional parents who believed that she had equal rights to an education as boys. To make sure she got an education, her parents started a school for girls, highly unusual at this time and place! She ended up going to UC Berkely (at least that is the distinct implication, although the university wasn't named) then Columbia. She became the person that top scientists consulted about Beta decay when they were stuck. Apparently she provided substantial research and lab work on 3 different projects that many felt should have won her the Nobel prize but she never did get it. The book discusses the fact that she was discriminated against both for her gender and her ethnicity. Madame Wu seems to have had a fulfilling professional life although nothing is mentioned of her personal life. She died at age 85 in New York City. The glossary in the back is top notch! Difficult scientific concepts are explained very well, in simple language. The bibliography is divided into two sections. 1) Further Reading and 2) Selected bibliography. I assume the author used section 2 to credit books that directly contributed to this book, but section 1 as recommended further reading on Madame Wu. It would have been nice if this had been spelled out for complete information. This is an excellent example of the utility of diversifying youth literature. I hope this trend continues!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jill

    Wu Chien Shiung was born on May 31, 1912 in a small town near Shanghai, China. (According to Chinese naming conventions, Wu was her last name and Chien Shiung her given name.) The author reports in a note at the end of the book that Chien Shiung’s parents believed girls to be equal to boys and thus they should receive an equivalent education. They gave their daughter a name meaning “Courageous Hero,” and they nurtured her love of learning and science. Chien Shiung left home at age eleven to comp Wu Chien Shiung was born on May 31, 1912 in a small town near Shanghai, China. (According to Chinese naming conventions, Wu was her last name and Chien Shiung her given name.) The author reports in a note at the end of the book that Chien Shiung’s parents believed girls to be equal to boys and thus they should receive an equivalent education. They gave their daughter a name meaning “Courageous Hero,” and they nurtured her love of learning and science. Chien Shiung left home at age eleven to compete for a place in a boarding school for teacher training; she was ranked ninth among around 10,000 applicants. During the day, Chien Shiung attended her own classes, and at night, she studied the textbooks of her friends. She kept up this habit of self-learning her whole life. After graduating at the top of her class in 1929, Chien Shiung, now 17, traveled to Nanjing, again by herself, to attend the National Central University. As in boarding school, Chien Shiung was recognized as a leader among students and was asked to lead political demonstrations, all while majoring in mathematics and physics. She was encouraged to pursue her PhD abroad in the U.S., and eventually settled on the University of California at Berkeley. (She originally intended to study at the University of Michigan until she heard that women were not allowed to use the front entrance of the student center - they had to use a side entrance.) She focused her work on beta decay, which, as the author explains in a glossary at the end of the book, is what happens when the center of an atom “decays” or breaks apart. Soon, the author reports, Chien Shiung had a deeper understanding of beta decay than just about anyone else, and other physicists came to her for consultation. She even helped shatter a fundamental concept of nuclear physics (“the parity laws”). It was such spectacular work that the male physicists involved won the Nobel Prize (but not Chien Shiung). In fact, over time, six male physicists won Nobel Prizes for the work she helped them complete, but Chien Shiung was passed over. The author writes: “Sometimes Chien Shiung did not get the jobs she wanted either - because she was a woman, because she was Asian. Was she sad? Yes. Was she disappointed? Often. Was she discouraged? Occasionally. But she did not let those feelings stop her from doing what she loved, because Baba [her father] always said, ‘Ignore the obstacles. Just put your head down and keep walking forward.’” She became such an exceptional physicist that the “Smithsonian” magazine called her “The First Lady of Physics Research” and “Newsweek” named her the “Queen of Physics.” The author concludes: “And that is how a small girl from a faraway village in China went to school, proved herself as smart as any boy, learned to be a scientist, and even became a queen!” The Afterword adds that Wu Chien Shiung was the first woman to be hired as an instructor by Princeton and to receive an honorary doctorate from that institution; the first woman to be elected president of the American Physical Society, and the first person to receive the Wolf Prize in Physics, inter alia. (The Wolf Prize is considered the second most prestigious award in the sciences, after the Nobel Prize.) Although it is not part of this story, Wu also made significant contributions to the “Manhattan Project” dedicated to the development of nuclear weapons during World War II. As the author of an article in "The New Inquiry" observed: "The popular historical narrative of the Manhattan Project presents it as a masculine, western enterprise, fitting the image of the young, white, male soldier on the battlegrounds of the two world wars. Yet the work of Wu, among many others, shows that the narrative was more complicated than that. Women, non-white, and non-Western people made vital contributions to the Manhattan Project and the physics underlying it. They disappeared from the history of the project as it was used to reinforce the image of the US as the leading Western superpower, both politically and scientifically. The forgotten history of Wu is one where state politics meets gender politics to the detriment of our understanding of scientific development." Wu died in 1997 in New York City. Illustrator Rebecca Huang uses mixed-media images that include chalkboards full of equations and nuclear symbols floating around the text. Evaluation: This book, for ages six and up, does a nice job of explaining any complicated concepts central to Wu's story, and emphasizing the obstacles Wu faced on account of her gender and race. Children will no doubt be amazed at the bravery of the little girl who traveled many miles away from home and from her beloved family in pursuit of an education. Wu’s story is pretty amazing, and it was gratifying to see it made available to inspire children. An included short bibliography will guide them to additional resources.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ben Truong

    Queen of Physics: How Wu Chien Shiung Helped Unlock the Secrets of the Atom is a children's picture book written by Teresa Robeson and illustrated by Rebecca Huang. It chronicles the life of Chien-Shiung Wu from her birth in a small child in China to becoming one of the preeminent physicists. Chien-Shiung Wu was a Chinese-American experimental physicist who made significant contributions in the field of nuclear physics. Wu worked on the Manhattan Project, where she helped develop the process for Queen of Physics: How Wu Chien Shiung Helped Unlock the Secrets of the Atom is a children's picture book written by Teresa Robeson and illustrated by Rebecca Huang. It chronicles the life of Chien-Shiung Wu from her birth in a small child in China to becoming one of the preeminent physicists. Chien-Shiung Wu was a Chinese-American experimental physicist who made significant contributions in the field of nuclear physics. Wu worked on the Manhattan Project, where she helped develop the process for separating uranium into uranium-235 and uranium-238 isotopes by gaseous diffusion. She is best known for conducting the Wu experiment, which contradicted the hypothetical law of conservation of parity. Her expertise in experimental physics evoked comparisons to Marie Curie. Her nicknames include the "First Lady of Physics", the "Chinese Madame Curie" and the "Queen of Nuclear Research". Robeson’s text is rather simplistic, straightforward, and informative. It depicts the life of Chien-Shiung Wu, who was born in China, where her family went against societal norms and allowed her to go to school and she fell in love with science and eventually became a physicist that was a part of the Manhattan Project. Additional information is provided at the end of the book. Huang’s illustrations are a tad simplistic, but are perfect for the target audience. The premise of the book is rather straightforward. Born over a hundred years ago, Chien-Shiung Wu was fortunate to be born in a progressive family, as girls were considered less than boys, but her parents sent her to school where she excelled in science. Eventually, she would become the preeminent physicist and helped her male colleagues win the Nobel Prize. Sadly, Chien-Shiung Wu is not well known outside the field of physics, yet contributed so much in the field. All in all, Queen of Physics: How Wu Chien Shiung Helped Unlock the Secrets of the Atom is a wonderful biography of a preeminent physicist that should be more well-known – Chien-Shiung Wu, the Queen of Physics.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kaitlyn

    This book is amazing right from the start: Rebecca Huang's cover features a blissful picture of Wu Chien Shiung wearing a lab coat and pearls. The book dives right into what will become of Wu Chien Shiung who was born in China where "in those days, girls were not sent to school." But surprisingly, her parents not only believed girls should go to school but they also had created their own school just for girls. This belief in their children continues throughout the book as Wu Chien Shiung continue This book is amazing right from the start: Rebecca Huang's cover features a blissful picture of Wu Chien Shiung wearing a lab coat and pearls. The book dives right into what will become of Wu Chien Shiung who was born in China where "in those days, girls were not sent to school." But surprisingly, her parents not only believed girls should go to school but they also had created their own school just for girls. This belief in their children continues throughout the book as Wu Chien Shiung continues to go farther and farther in life with their support and love always with her. The book continue to take us through her life: through her education, her courageousness to stand up and lead against a repressive government, and her incredibly impressive work in physics. This book made me so proud and so sad for Wu Chien Shiung. Time after time after time, men came to Wu Chien Shiung to get help proving their theories and every single time, she did it! BUT the scientific community continued to give Nobel Prizes to these men she helped instead of her. Thank goodness for Smithsonian magazine and Newsweek for seeing her for who she was and naming her "The First Lady of Physics Research" and "Queen of Physics" respectively. I am so glad that today women get more credit for what they do, but also so happy that Wu Chien Shiung got to pursue what she loved with the support of her family no matter what others tried to tell her she couldn't do. If you want an inspirational and beautiful book to inspire the children in your life, you'll definitely want to get a copy of Queen of Physics How Wu Chien Shiung Helped Unlock the Secrets of the Atom. Thank you, Teresa, for sharing this woman's amazing story!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    This children's biography is so beautiful and such an important read. I'm sad to say before I picked it up, I didn't even recognize the name Wu Chien Shiung, and I doubt very much young readers will either which is what makes this book so important. We should learn that it's not always been men making huge discoveries. They might get the glory - like the Nobel Prizes Wu was not given - but women often did just as much work, if not more. Wu made huge discoveries and changed what we knew of atoms This children's biography is so beautiful and such an important read. I'm sad to say before I picked it up, I didn't even recognize the name Wu Chien Shiung, and I doubt very much young readers will either which is what makes this book so important. We should learn that it's not always been men making huge discoveries. They might get the glory - like the Nobel Prizes Wu was not given - but women often did just as much work, if not more. Wu made huge discoveries and changed what we knew of atoms and physics, but I sadly only recognized the name of the white men that won her Nobel Prizes.This also has a bit about Chinese history that makes the story of her achievements even more impressive. To know what adversity she faced and how hard she and her parents had to work to even get her a very basic education is mind-blowing considering that she had such a brilliant mind. Aside of being wonderfully informative, this book was inspiring and beautiful, if a bit sad for me. I was reminded of a younger version of myself that was quite in love with science. Even nearly one hundred years after Wu was struggling with men telling her that women shouldn't learn things, the world was still telling girls like me that we had no business going into scientific careers or even studying sciences at university. I'm not exactly angry or upset that I shifted my education toward books and teaching, but now that I've been reminded of the young girl that I was so in love with atoms and elements, I wish I had persevered in a way that Wu did. I don't know that I would have become the Princess of Physics or the Queen of Chemistry, but this book definitely shows that, regardless of possible accolades, we should fight for what we're passion about, what we want to learn and do in our lives.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sandy Brehl

    This was among amazing titles on my shrinking list of favorite nonfiction elementary books while serving on the round one CYBILS Awards panel in November and December. I love so many things about picture books, especially nonfiction. Near the top of those things is discovering entirely new information! That makes me sound like a know-it-all, but the lists of things I do not know about is endless. However, I have lived many years, reading widely throughout them all, and it is not a common experie This was among amazing titles on my shrinking list of favorite nonfiction elementary books while serving on the round one CYBILS Awards panel in November and December. I love so many things about picture books, especially nonfiction. Near the top of those things is discovering entirely new information! That makes me sound like a know-it-all, but the lists of things I do not know about is endless. However, I have lived many years, reading widely throughout them all, and it is not a common experience to encounter someone as important as this woman, Wu Chien Shiung, having never even HEARD of her before. I was enthralled by and proud of her forward-thinking parents. They valued her beyond culturally limited definitions of a girl born in China at that time. They gave her a name that embodied courage, and she never disappointed. Their faith in her and challenge to fulfill her potential was a lifelong inspiration. In exchange, though, her hard work, insights, brilliance, discoveries, and overall scientific wizardry were utilized by male scientists without giving her the credit due. In fact, her foundational work earned others NOBEL PRIZES, but her name was not included. I was very taken by the interpretation of her life story in text and illustrations, including helpful back matter. I'm thrilled that this is such an appealing book because the story of this PHYSICS QUEEN will be hidden no more!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Katie Lawrence

    I am trying to catch up on some of the big winners from the Youth Media Awards on Monday. This title won the Asian/Pacific American Awards for Literature in the Picture Book category and I can definitely see why. It was wonderful to learn about Wu Chien Shiung and her lifelong pursuit of knowledge, often in the face of almost impossible odds. I think it's really important for young readers to hear stories about women in STEM and am so glad more biographies are being published in this vein. I did I am trying to catch up on some of the big winners from the Youth Media Awards on Monday. This title won the Asian/Pacific American Awards for Literature in the Picture Book category and I can definitely see why. It was wonderful to learn about Wu Chien Shiung and her lifelong pursuit of knowledge, often in the face of almost impossible odds. I think it's really important for young readers to hear stories about women in STEM and am so glad more biographies are being published in this vein. I did find myself wishing the physics had been explained a bit more, or that Wu's work was depicted visually. I had a difficult time understanding what she worked on or why it was important. This does place the focus more on her, her life and her sacrifices for her studies, but I do wish there'd been a bit more of an explanation even if it had only been in the back matter. With that said, this is an excellent introduction to a critical figure in the world of physics and readers can use the resources in the back of the book for further learning.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Melissa Nikohl

    Wu Chien Shiung (1912-1997) was a physicist born in China. ⁣ Her parents made sure she was adequately educated, even if that meant she had to live far away from them. Chien Shiung developed a passion for math and eventually, physics very quickly! She would sneak and read her friends' textbooks to learn everything she could. ⁣ ⁣ Chien Shiung means courageous hero, and it was fitting. She would lead an underground group to fight against the Chinese government even though she could have been punished Wu Chien Shiung (1912-1997) was a physicist born in China. ⁣ Her parents made sure she was adequately educated, even if that meant she had to live far away from them. Chien Shiung developed a passion for math and eventually, physics very quickly! She would sneak and read her friends' textbooks to learn everything she could. ⁣ ⁣ Chien Shiung means courageous hero, and it was fitting. She would lead an underground group to fight against the Chinese government even though she could have been punished or killed. ⁣ ⁣ She eventually moved to the United States, where she continued her study of physics. Chien Shiung helped many scientists with their research that earned them Nobel Prizes. She never got credit for her work. ⁣ ⁣ Although Chien Shiung never got the appropriate recognition, she definitely was a trailblazer.⁣ ⁣ She was the first female instructor at Princeton University.⁣ She was the first female president of The American Physical Society.⁣ She was the first person to receive the Wolf Prize in Physics. ⁣ ⁣ She rightfully earned the nickname Queen of Physics.⁣ ⁣

  11. 5 out of 5

    Amy Layton

    With beautiful illustrations that accentuate the detailed world of physics, Queen of Physics details the life of a woman whose true passion was the math and science behind our universe.  As the leading scientist in parity violation among other atom-related theories, she became well-known and revered for answering questions that other white male scientists had no idea how to even tackle.   Battling both sexism and racism, she still determined to unlock various secrets.  She lived up to her name, " With beautiful illustrations that accentuate the detailed world of physics, Queen of Physics details the life of a woman whose true passion was the math and science behind our universe.  As the leading scientist in parity violation among other atom-related theories, she became well-known and revered for answering questions that other white male scientists had no idea how to even tackle.   Battling both sexism and racism, she still determined to unlock various secrets.  She lived up to her name, "Courageous Hero", in many different examples that the author lists.   Overall, this is great for the curious child who loves science and physics, great for the parent who wants to add more diverse books to their repertoire, and perfect for children from grades 2-4. Review cross-listed here!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Patricia Murphy

    Engaging, inspiring PB biography. Teresa Robeson introduces brilliant Wu Chen Shiung & her work with beta decay, parity & how her work helped others win Nobel prizes. Woman in STEM. A wonderful book! Wu led a life of passion. She was born in China over 100 years ago when girls were not educated, yet her parents encouraged and found ways to educate Chen Shiung. Wu overcame prejudice and continued her education, local school, National Central University in China, and then traveling to United State Engaging, inspiring PB biography. Teresa Robeson introduces brilliant Wu Chen Shiung & her work with beta decay, parity & how her work helped others win Nobel prizes. Woman in STEM. A wonderful book! Wu led a life of passion. She was born in China over 100 years ago when girls were not educated, yet her parents encouraged and found ways to educate Chen Shiung. Wu overcame prejudice and continued her education, local school, National Central University in China, and then traveling to United States. Immersed herself in study. - first woman instructor Princeton U, first woman president of The American Physical Society, etc. Glossary w analogy definitions a plus. Love to have these types of books in my classroom.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Green

    I loved the art and illustrations in this book and the concept of profiling Wu Chien Siung. As a former physics teacher I love that it showcases a woman in science and the struggles she went through (not to mention as an Asian woman in the first half of the 20th century). However, I felt the text layout, spacing, and fonts to be inconsistent and distracting.I felt like I was reading an early draft. Some parts were heavily detailed and others were glossed over. I was looking for a little more con I loved the art and illustrations in this book and the concept of profiling Wu Chien Siung. As a former physics teacher I love that it showcases a woman in science and the struggles she went through (not to mention as an Asian woman in the first half of the 20th century). However, I felt the text layout, spacing, and fonts to be inconsistent and distracting.I felt like I was reading an early draft. Some parts were heavily detailed and others were glossed over. I was looking for a little more consistency both in formatting and subject matter. I would still add this to a school library collection as an upper grade STEM biography. 3.5/5

  14. 5 out of 5

    Lindsay Fouts

    If you're a writer, this is a perfect example of a non-fiction picture book. This book tells the story of Wu Chien Shiung for young children, without being overly wordy. Wu Chien Shiung faced prejudice against women in China in the early 1900's and also racism in the US against Asians. It has a glossary of words in the back along with further suggested reading. Teresa Robeson participated in the We Need Diverse Books mentorship prgram and worked with Jane Yolen. Robeson is an excellent writer and If you're a writer, this is a perfect example of a non-fiction picture book. This book tells the story of Wu Chien Shiung for young children, without being overly wordy. Wu Chien Shiung faced prejudice against women in China in the early 1900's and also racism in the US against Asians. It has a glossary of words in the back along with further suggested reading. Teresa Robeson participated in the We Need Diverse Books mentorship prgram and worked with Jane Yolen. Robeson is an excellent writer and I look forward to reading more of her picture books.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sylvia

    The inspiring story of Wu Chien-Shiung, nicknamed Queen of Physics, who was born in a small town in China back when girls weren't educated, and who made her way to the United States. Teresa Robeson tells the story of how Wu's groundbreaking experiments on beta decay and parity helped her male colleagues win Nobel prizes using beautiful and lyrical language. A great read for anyone interested in the hidden history of girls and women in STEM.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    This biography of Wu Chien Shiung touches on many themes: equality, perseverance, determination, prejudice, and courage. From when she was a little girl going to school in China (girls weren't educated 100 years ago) to her acclaimed career as a physicist (although she was passed over for the Nobel Prize three times), Chien Shiung defied norms and odds again and again, often paving the way for women and minorities in science fields in the United States. She truly was the "Queen of Physics".

  17. 5 out of 5

    Elaine

    The amazing story of Wu Chien-Shiung, (Queen of Physics) who was born in China at a time when girls weren't educated. Teresa Robeson tells the story of how Wu's experiments helped her male colleagues win Nobel prizes using beautiful language. A must-read for every classroom, library, and absolutely anyone interested in girl power stories and STEM!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    This is a fascinating account of how one girl, and then woman, defied the odds and changed the world. Despite being continually overlooked by white/male colleagues, she persevered and sacrificed. An incredible tale.

  19. 5 out of 5

    KC

    Great biography about physicist Wu Chien Shiung. But it irks me to no end that an accomplished scientist such as she couldn’t be awarded for her discoveries because of her gender and her nationality.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Abby Johnson

    This wonderful picture book biography introduces Wu Chien Shiung, a Chinese-American physicist whose work and discoveries helped several men win Nobel Prizes, although she was never credited or awarded herself. This is a must-have for those interested in women in STEM.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Tina Hoggatt

    Thoughtful biography of a notable and underusing woman physicist. Back matter offers more biographical information and additional resources.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kaylynn Johnsen

    Felt like it dragged a bit. It is a long life. Feels too long for a picture book.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Brenda Avila

    The story follows Wu Chien Shiung life as a girl born in China at the start of the twentieth century to her at an old age as an accomplished physicist. Before Wu Chien Shiung became a distinguished scientist in the world of nuclear physics she had to overcome prejudice and discriminations on her path towards her dreams. Her parents encouraged her to attend school and receive the same education as her brothers in a time where girls were not deemed worthy of going to school. The book illustrates W The story follows Wu Chien Shiung life as a girl born in China at the start of the twentieth century to her at an old age as an accomplished physicist. Before Wu Chien Shiung became a distinguished scientist in the world of nuclear physics she had to overcome prejudice and discriminations on her path towards her dreams. Her parents encouraged her to attend school and receive the same education as her brothers in a time where girls were not deemed worthy of going to school. The book illustrates Wu growing up with a strong voice and bravery as she protested Japanese invaders before WWII. Wu had big ambitions and perused higher education and moved further from her family, moving to the U.S. Wu worked on beta decay experiments eventually help advance the field of parity and beta decay through her findings. Wu became an accomplished scientist with a long list of honors, she became the women instructor at Princeton University, and even had an asteroid named after her. Wu Chien Shiung’s life is a source of inspiration for women of all ages to follow their dreams despite the odds. Wu's story could tie in nicely as part of a science unit and could even continue onto a biography project for students to research female scientists.

  24. 5 out of 5

    DaNae

    An interesting life, but perhaps not told in a very dynamic way. The book leans heavily on the fact that Wu was often the brains behind many recognized accomplishments where the glory was given to the males on the team. When it discusses her work, all the physics babble was out of my reach of understanding.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Alicia

    Always a big fan of picture book biographies, I didn't know about Wu Chien Shiung so Robeson's book was a fun experience with serious implications about women in science. Wu spent all of her life pursuing education and her passion for science, proving theories, providing documentation of events, testing hypotheses, but it took several MAJOR achievements in which SHE was the person who did it, before she actually received the recognition of major scientists- a Nobel Prize- because of bias against Always a big fan of picture book biographies, I didn't know about Wu Chien Shiung so Robeson's book was a fun experience with serious implications about women in science. Wu spent all of her life pursuing education and her passion for science, proving theories, providing documentation of events, testing hypotheses, but it took several MAJOR achievements in which SHE was the person who did it, before she actually received the recognition of major scientists- a Nobel Prize- because of bias against her sex as well as her ethnicity. The visuals of her chronological life including education (very similar to Yousafzai's too in which her father wholeheartedly believed she should be educated and actually opened up a girl's school to do just that) through her career in science before her passing, but the label, Queen of Physics stuck and it seems, aptly named! The color scheme was warm and calming.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Celebrilomiel

    This book is on a subject that I love — women in science — and I was prepared to really like it, but it fell a bit flat for me. The primary reason is that it is unclear when the author is drawing on source material and when she is imagining what people might have thought or said. When she gave a reasoning or a belief, in the beginning of the book especially, it often sounded like she was putting thoughts in the heads of historical figures (e.g., "[Chien Shiung's parents] knew their daughter woul This book is on a subject that I love — women in science — and I was prepared to really like it, but it fell a bit flat for me. The primary reason is that it is unclear when the author is drawing on source material and when she is imagining what people might have thought or said. When she gave a reasoning or a belief, in the beginning of the book especially, it often sounded like she was putting thoughts in the heads of historical figures (e.g., "[Chien Shiung's parents] knew their daughter would be smart and brave, that she would make a difference in the world."). That cast doubt on the whole narrative: how much was historical fact, how much was retrodiction, and how much was the author's opinion? Actions were clearly historical, but anything thought- or emotion-based could have been merely projected. I hoped that there would be an author's note explaining the source of certain quotes and reasonings, but there was not — only a bibliography of five books, three of which were overviews of women in science, not personal accounts of Wu Chien Shiung. This disappointed me, but I am glad to have finally been introduced to Chien Shiung (and her parents!).

  27. 5 out of 5

    Tanya

    As we celebrate the International Day of the Girl Child, what could be more fitting than to read about a young Chinese girl - named Chien Shiung, meaning "courageous hero" - who grew to be a truly inspirational woman in the field of physics, eventually named by Newsweek as The Queen of Physics. Born in 1912 and raised by parents who ran a school for girls, Chien Shiung quickly discovered the value of learning. When she needed to further her education, she bravely left home at a young age to study As we celebrate the International Day of the Girl Child, what could be more fitting than to read about a young Chinese girl - named Chien Shiung, meaning "courageous hero" - who grew to be a truly inspirational woman in the field of physics, eventually named by Newsweek as The Queen of Physics. Born in 1912 and raised by parents who ran a school for girls, Chien Shiung quickly discovered the value of learning. When she needed to further her education, she bravely left home at a young age to study biology, chemistry, math, and her most beloved subject, physics, all while leading classmates against those with abusive power in her homeland. Eventually moving to the U.S. in her early twenties, Chien Shiung began to study the physics of atoms, specifically beta decay, making great discoveries and helping others in the scientific field in their research and experiments. Despite the fact she was overlooked many times for the Nobel Prize for her accomplishments, Chien Shiung - called Madame Wu by her students - persevered and became a leader in her field, as well as the first woman instructor for Princeton, first woman to be elected president of The American Physical Society, and many other "firsts" and honors. Teresa Robeson's inspiring debut picture book brings Wu Chien Shiung and her love for physics to life, while not shying away from hard facts of racism, sexism, political upheavals, and other important topics. In addition, Robeson's writing allows sometimes tough-to-understand scientific ideas to be accessible to young readers, both in the story and in back matter. Huang's illustrations feature a variety of colors, softened to great effect, and helps to highlight both Chien Shiung's amazing life and the scientific principles she loved so dearly.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    Wu Chien Shiung was born in China in a time when educating girls was not valued, but her parents thought otherwise. Her father was a principal at a girls school and her mother the teacher, so Wu Chien Shiung was able to study science and went on to become one of the most important physicists ever. Despite sexism and racism, she embraced her name which means Courageous Hero, and proved the theories of important scientists like Enrico Fermi. Although the Nobel prized passed her by more than once, Wu Chien Shiung was born in China in a time when educating girls was not valued, but her parents thought otherwise. Her father was a principal at a girls school and her mother the teacher, so Wu Chien Shiung was able to study science and went on to become one of the most important physicists ever. Despite sexism and racism, she embraced her name which means Courageous Hero, and proved the theories of important scientists like Enrico Fermi. Although the Nobel prized passed her by more than once, she deserves to be The Queen Of Physics. Inspirational! I love short biographies, and Teresa Robeson found an amazing scientist to write about. Huang’s illustrations are great (I love the pearls and the lab coat on the cover). Hooray for women in STEM! Includes a glossary and life achievements. For this and more of my reviews, visit http://kissthebook.blogspot.com . CHECK IT OUT!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Arminzerella

    Wu Chien Shiung was born in the early 1900s in rural China, where (and when) a lot of people didn't believe that girls should be educated. Her parents thought differently and even started up a school for girls so their daughter could attend. She went on to attend other institutions of higher learning and became a renowned physicist. Her discoveries and work in her field were important and lots of the research she did helped to further OTHER scientists' careers (although she remained unknown and Wu Chien Shiung was born in the early 1900s in rural China, where (and when) a lot of people didn't believe that girls should be educated. Her parents thought differently and even started up a school for girls so their daughter could attend. She went on to attend other institutions of higher learning and became a renowned physicist. Her discoveries and work in her field were important and lots of the research she did helped to further OTHER scientists' careers (although she remained unknown and in the background). This picture book biography celebrates her many achievements and accomplishments and captures her determination and enthusiasm for her work, as well as her efforts to advocate for the Chinese people, Asians in America, and women's rights. Wu Chien Shiung was a hero, a leader, a scientist, and is a great role model. Inspiring.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Veronica

    This book made me straight-up cry at work. Lady scientists had to work so hard! And fight against so much bullshit! And they never got the recognition they deserved! (The section where Wu Chien Shiung's research helped not one but two groups of men win a Nobel prize... both of which she was excluded from... FURIOUS TEARS.) This is also a fabulous example of the craft of picture books! The images support the text, there aren't too many words, the whole thing flows. There's even a list of referenc This book made me straight-up cry at work. Lady scientists had to work so hard! And fight against so much bullshit! And they never got the recognition they deserved! (The section where Wu Chien Shiung's research helped not one but two groups of men win a Nobel prize... both of which she was excluded from... FURIOUS TEARS.) This is also a fabulous example of the craft of picture books! The images support the text, there aren't too many words, the whole thing flows. There's even a list of references at the end, which all children's nonfiction should have in my opinion. Strongly recommend this book, and I'm going to lobby to put it on our APAHM booklist for 2019.

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