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Chien-Shiung Wu

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Alison Dundore

on 10 October 2012

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Transcript of Chien-Shiung Wu

Chien-Shiung Wu A Prezi by Alison Dundore She graduated from the National Central University in Nanking, China in 1936 and then, went to the United States to study physics at the graduate level at the University of California at Berkeley. She received her PhD in 1940. Chien-Shiung taught at Smith College in Massachusetts and then, later, at Princeton University. In 1944, she undertook work on radiation detection in the Division of War Research at Columbia University. She remained there after the war and became a professor in 1957. Chien-Shiung Wu was born on May 31, 1912 in Taicang in the Jiangsu Province of China. She worked on the Manhattan Project during the war, helping to develop a process to produce bomb-grade uranium. In 1956, physicists Tsung-Dao Lee and Chen Ning Yang proposed the idea that parity is not conserved for weak nuclear interactions. Wu tested this proposal with a group of scientists by observing the beta particles given off by Cobalt-60. She publicized her findings in 1957. What she observed was that there is a preferred direction of emission. Therefore, parity is not conserved for this weak interaction that is not always symmetrical in nature. Before Wu's experiments, the laws of physics had always shown complete symmetry between left and right. This had been known as the conservation of parity. She, along with Lee and Yang, received global acclaim. She lost the Nobel Prize in Physics to Lee and Yang in 1957. So close... Wu made other contributions to physics. The theory of the conservation of vector current was experimentally confirmed by Wu in 1963. She also later studied the molecular changes in hemoglobin associated with sickle-cell anemia. Wu was awarded the National Medal of Science in 1975, the Wolf Prize in Physics in 1978, and Columbia's Pupin Medal in 1991. She was elected to the National Academy in Sciences in 1958, the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1969, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1972. She became the first woman to head the American Physical Society in 1973. Wu was the first living scientist to have an asteroid named after her! It is called 2752 Wu Chien-Shiung and was discovered in 1965 in Nanking. Chien-Shiung Wu retired from Columbia in 1981. She died in 1997 at the age of 84. Chien-Shiung Wu: one of the best female physicists of the modern era.
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