Queen of Physics

By Teresa Robeson, Rebecca Huang (illustrator),

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

Book description

When Wu Chien Shiung was born in China 100 years ago, girls did not attend school; no one considered them as smart as boys. But her parents felt differently. Naming their daughter "Courageous Hero," they encouraged her love of learning and science. This engaging biography follows Wu Chien Shiung as…

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Why read it?

5 authors picked Queen of Physics as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

A book that encompasses both the study of science and the role of women in the world, this beautiful picture book explores the life of Wu Chien Shiung, a Chinese American scientist who worked in particle and nuclear physics during a time when women weren’t encouraged to have scientific careers.

From Andi's list on children’s books about physics.

Many books about early female scientists show the disapproval of their own families, families who wanted their daughters to conform to the societal norms of the time periods they lived in. In contrast, this book tells the story of a supportive family, who educated and encouraged Wu Chien Shiung, even at a time in Chinese history when having a daughter was “not considered fortunate.”  Also, it is no easy feat to explain physics at a level appropriate for a picture-book audience, but Teresa Robeson succeeds admirably.

This isn’t just the story of a woman who excelled in physics in a time and culture that devalued the intelligence of women, it’s also about the courage and determination it took to become a leader in her field—a leader who wasn’t recognized because of her gender and heritage. While the men around her received awards for the discoveries she made, she kept working for the love of science. Now she’s recognized as the “queen” of physics. It’s “historical” fiction but it’s also the story of discrimination against people of Asian descent, a contemporary problem, so it’s still very timely.

From Kathryn's list on fascinating people.

Yes, this book tells the story of a pioneering physicist, but it’s also an immigration story. Wu Chien Shiung, who was born in China, moved to the United States in order to follow her passion: the study of atoms. Once there, she had to overcome prejudice against an Asian woman in physics. This is an informative and inspiring read.

From Laurie's list on biographies of women in STEM.

With a name (Chien Shiung) that means “courageous hero” how could this book about a brilliant female physicist be anything but great? This remarkable story is beautifully told through engaging and emotionally resonant text that has the reader routing for Chien Shiung from beginning to end. The level of physics referenced is approachable and the level of expertise Chein Shiung reached is unmatched. She was a true pioneer who was never deterred by discrimination based on her gender or ethnicity.

From Kim's list on women breaking barriers.

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