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

4.54  ·  Rating details ·  135 ratings  ·  44 reviews
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
Hardcover, 48 pages
Published October 8th 2019 by Sterling Children's Books (first published September 17th 2019)
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Marcie Flinchum
Jun 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Ben Truong
Oct 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
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
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
Oct 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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".
Nov 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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!
Amy Layton
Dec 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picturebooks
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,
Oct 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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.
Patricia Murphy
Sep 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Mar 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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.
Oct 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
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
Maria Marshall
This book features determined woman whose efforts not only changed our understanding of physics but paved a path for women scientists. A beautiful biography that is a tribute to a brilliant and hardworking scientist and an inspiration for children to work hard and follow their dreams. The illustration's muted colors and collage style work well with the spare text to express the joy Wu Chien Shiung felt studying and investigating physics. At each stage, of her life and career, she countered ...more
Jolene Gutiérrez
Jan 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wu Chien Shiung was born in China in the early 1900s at a time when much of the country (and much of the world) believed that women couldn't and shouldn't attend college. Chien Shiung's parents encouraged her to attend school, though, and told her she could be anything she set her mind to. Overcoming sexism, racism, and many injustices, Chien Shiung was the first woman hired as a professor at Princeton University, the first female president of The American Physical Society, and the first person ...more
Rachel Green
Dec 12, 2019 rated it liked it
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
Nov 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Once again, I have found a book where I ask myself why have I never heard of her with every turn of the page. The author's primary focus is on Chien Shiung's life and career, but there is SO much more that jumps from the page for young readers.

Please don't mistake this as a "book for girls" because the featured subject is a woman in science. Readers can readily empathize with her feelings for her family, her love of her work, and the various disappointments, too. Those are universal.

There is SO
Dec 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was an amazing introduction to the life and works of Wu Chien Shiung - it included factoids that I had never encountered about her before! I am so excited to see this amazing, incredible woman finally getting the recognition she deserves - when I was first learning about her, my heart broke every time someone else got a Nobel for her work and I am glad that Wu Chien Shiung is finally in the spotlight!

This is a mini-biography that is a wonderful introduction for children - it follows her
Jan 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
This book details the life of Wu Chien Shiung and her work in physics, particularly with the atom. In its 48 pages, the book touches on many subjects and events in Wu Chien Shiung's life without becoming overly complicated for its demographic. Additional and slightly more detailed information is at the back of the book. Still, even that is written with young readers' language comprehension in mind. There's also a glossary, as well as further reading and a bibliography.
I enjoyed reading it and
Cathy Mealey
Oct 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Inspiring and entertaining, sprinkled with lyrical language and STEM science insights, Teresa Robeson masterfully portrays a heroine heretofore hidden from history in QUEEN OF PHYSICS. Wu Chien-Shiung, nicknamed Queen of Physics, was born in China when girls weren't educated, seized upon every available educational opportunity, and eventually came to the United States. Wu's groundbreaking experiments on beta decay and parity were critical to her male colleagues' success as Nobel prize winners. A ...more
Catherine Johnson
Nov 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I had never heard of Wu Chien Shiung so what a delight to discover this amazing lady. Passed over three times for the Nobel Peace Prize and still she persisted to solve Physics problems. I feel bad for her not hardly seeing her parents.

Thank you, Teresa, for introducing this talented scientist to the masses to inspire children, especially girls and minorities to always follow their dreams. A great introduction to physics for kids too.
Nov 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Children's Picture book biography, elementary and middle grade readers
Great addition to your biography reading. Diverse topic and very interesting narrative on how a bold and courageous lady from China made her way into a very male world of science and even tougher subject of Physics. Fascinating to read her journey, her challenges and her sheer love for the subject.
HIGHLY recommend reading for younger readers but also for middle graders who would love to read a diverse personality.
Stephanie Lucianovic
Nov 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I love this lyrical, informative, and fascinating celebration of Wu Chien Shiung. We need more books just like this that tell us more about the unheralded women of color in history (and in the present). I specifically loved learning how supportive Wu Chien Shiung's parents were of her and her education. What a marvelous biography and one that should be used as a mentor text for all NF bio authors.
Robin Newman
Oct 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Teresa Robeson has written a beautiful book about Wu Chien's Shiung's journey to becoming the preeminent physicist of her time, only to be denied much of the recognition she deserved because she was an Asian woman. I hope this book will help share Wu Chien Shiung's incredible scientific accomplishments, and inspire the next generation of physicists to have the courage not to give up when faced with adversity. Great STEM choice!
Richard Ho
Nov 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This picture book biography of Wu Chien Shiung is both informative and inspiring. Author Teresa Robeson deftly relates the life story of this remarkable scientist, from her early love of science as a young girl in China to her triumphs (albeit largely unrecognized) as a preeminent physicist in America. Wu's accomplishments teach a wonderful lesson to young readers: don't let any ceilings, glass or otherwise, stop you from growing into the person you wish to be!
Joana Pastro
Nov 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
What a gem! I loved this book by Teresa Robeson and illustrated by Rebecca Huang. I’m amazed by Wu Chien Shiung’s journey to becoming a respected and accomplished physicist in a time when women weren’t allowed much space within the scientific world. This book inspires not only young readers, but all of us to pursue our dreams, and that with hard work anything is possible! Empowering and uplifting, this is a must read. A great addition to any library!
Jenna Grodzicki
Dec 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wu Chien Shiung was born in the early 1900s, a time when girls were not considered as smart as boys. With teaching and encouragement from her parents, she worked hard and pursued her love of science. Nicknamed the "Queen of Physics" by Newsweek, Madame Wu conducted many difficult experiments that other scientists were unable to do. This uplifting biography of this extraordinary woman is sure to inspire young readers to follow their dreams.
Jan 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Biography of Wu Chien Shiung for elementary level readers.
Robeson takes readers from her childhood through most of her career. She brings out the human side of this scientist and shows readers how difficult it was to be a girl and an Asian.
Further biographic information and glossary included at the end.
Laura Roettiger
Nov 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
When you find a picture book biography about someone who is important in the world of science, but have never heard of her before, it’s an opportunity to not only learn about her contributions, but also the sexism and racism that explains why her name is unfamiliar.
Well written on many levels and an excellent resource for teaching.
Debra Shumaker
Jan 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wow! I have never heard of Wu Chien Shiung and I loved reading about her contribution to physics! I love books about unknown figures in history and science. Every aspiring scientist should read this book, especially young scientist girls! It does deal with some heavier science terms, but the glossary in back helps tremendously.
Lara Samuels
Jan 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Another book to rush out and purchase. This narrative biography is well written and has distinctive illustrations. There are many discussion opportunities. I would consider this an essential book for all physics classrooms as well as an excellent introduction into sciences for elementary students.
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Teresa Robeson was lucky enough to view the first lunar landing and be raised on a healthy dose of Star Trek. This series of fortunate events turned her into a total nerd/geek-girl who loves to write and read science fiction, science, and modern fantasy. She also has a life-long love of children's lit, having never really grown up. Her stories and poems have appeared in publications for children ...more