Chien-Shiung Wu
Nickname: First Lady of Physics

Family Life and Education: Wu was born on May 12, 1912 in the Jiansu Province in China. Her parents not only believed in gender equality and education for girls in a time where that was unusual, but built a school for that exact purpose. Wu was educated there until she turned 11, when she moved to a boarding school. She went to several universities in China before leaving her family to move to the United States in order to continue her studies in physics. She finished her Ph.D. in 1940 at the University of California, Berkeley. Two years later, she married a colleague, Luke Chia-Lie Yuan. Throughout her life she fought for women's rights and equal pay. She died on February 16, 1997.

Career and Achievements: Wu began working at Columbia University in 1944, and, while there, was recruited into the Manhattan Project, where she did work on the separation of Uranium into its isotopes through gaseous diffusion. At Columbia, she also did some of her most famous work alongside several male colleagues on testing and debasing the “Law of Conservation of Parity,” which stated that there was an inherent symmetry in all behaviors in nature. Her colleagues received a Nobel Prize in 1957 for their work creating the theory, but Wu did not. She later won the National Medal of Science in 1975 and the Wolf Prize in Physics in 1978 for her work experimenting on the theory, as well as many other awards throughout her life. She was considered one of the best experimental physicists in the world!

Contributions to the Tessera: Wu configured a miniature nuclear reactor that powers all the electricity in Horsley Towers! Its power lights the central lantern at the top of the Towers, which keeps S at bay, and is an integral part of the Towers. Remember, only light can drive S away.