Chien-Shiung Wu

Born in 1912, Chien-Shiung Wu was encouraged to pursue an advanced (post-graduate) education in the United States, and arrived in San Francisco in 1936. In 1944, she joined the Manhattan Project, and was one of the researchers to first identify xenon poisoning as an obstacle to be engineered around in nuclear power. Later, she devised an experiment to prove that a law of physics (the conservation of parity - essentially, that all objects and their identical pairings behave the same way) does not hold true during beta decay (high radioactivity at low temperatures). After accomplishing this, the team of researchers that she helped went on to receive a Nobel Prize in Physics for their work, leaving her work unacknowledged and her contributions seen as irrelevant. After her retirement, she focused on encouraging young women to pursue careers in the sciences, and spoke much about her struggle to obtain recognition for her work. She passed away on February 16th, 1997.

Inspiration: Wu attended a school started by her father, who based his policies off of education for girls, despite the concept being a rare belief at the time. Her ashes were spread and buried at this school after her passing.

Chien-Shiung Wu