Chien-Shiung Wu

image for Chien-Shiung Wu
Exhibition Label
Born Liuh, China
Chien-Shiung Wu emigrated from China in 1936 after her college adviser encouraged her to pursue a doctorate in the United States; she received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1940. After several academic appointments—on the East Coast, as anti-Asian prejudice in California hindered her personal and professional life—she joined the Manhattan Project in 1944 to work on uranium enrichment for the atomic bomb. Wu did her major theoretical work after World War II at Columbia University on the behavior of subatomic particles. Two of her male colleagues who were working on this project received the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1957; it has been posited that Wu was not included in the prize because of gender bias. Wu did win most of the other major prizes for her work, and although she disliked being called “The First Lady of Physics,” she was a trailblazer for women in the sciences.
Nacida en Liuh, China
Chien-Shiung Wu emigró de China en 1936 cuando su orientador universitario le aconsejó proseguir estudios doctorales en Estados Unidos, y en 1940 obtuvo su doctorado en la Universidad de California, Berkeley. Luego de varios puestos académicos —en la costa este del país, ya que en California los prejuicios antiasiáticos dificultaron su vida personal y profesional— se incorporó al Proyecto Manhattan en 1944 y trabajó en el desarrollo de uranio enriquecido para la bomba atómica. Wu realizó su principal trabajo teórico sobre el comportamiento de las partículas subatómicas después de la Segunda Guerra Mundial, en la Universidad de Columbia. Dos de sus colegas (hombres) que también trabajaron en ese proyecto recibieron el Premio Nobel de física en 1957, y se ha conjeturado que Wu no fue incluida en el premio por discriminación de género. La científica ganó casi todos los demás premios importantes de su ámbito, y aunque no le gustaba que la llamaran “La Primera Dama de la Física”, en verdad abrió camino para las mujeres en las ciencias.
Artist
Lynn Gilbert, born 1938
Sitter
Chien-Shiung Wu, 29 May 1912 - 16 Feb 1997
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; acquired through the generosity of friends of Linda Thrift, in recognition of her many years of service to the National Portrait Gallery
Restrictions & Rights
© 2016, Lynn Gilbert
See more items in
National Portrait Gallery Collection
1978 (printed 2014)
Object number
NPG.2015.12
Topic
Costume\Jewelry\Watch
Home Furnishings\Furniture\Seating\Stool
Interior\Laboratory
Chien-Shiung Wu: Female
Chien-Shiung Wu: Science and Technology\Scientist\Physicist
Portrait
Place
United States\New York\Kings\New York
Medium
Inkjet print
Dimensions
Image: 30.4 × 20.7 cm (11 15/16 × 8 1/8")
Sheet: 35.4 × 27.9 cm (13 15/16 × 11")
National Portrait Gallery
Type
Photograph