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

by Teresa Robeson

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Societal limits cannot extinguish talent.When Wu Chien Shiung is born, her parents worry, "What would become of her?" Due to sexist mores, "in those days, girls were not sent to school." But Chien Shiung was lucky, as before she was born both parents had opened a school for girls, encouraging families in their town of Liuhe to educate their daughters. "Soon enough, Chien Shiung [has] learned everything she could from her parents' school," leaving for the city of Suzhou, miles away from home and family. There she finds her passions for physics, reading (or "self-learning"), and politics. Her extraordinary talent takes her to bigger opportunities and further away from home. Eventually she ends up at Columbia University in New York. Because of her expertise in beta decay, three groups of scientists enlist her help with their research. From her work, all three groups win the Nobel Prize, but she is overlooked every single time. And "because she [is] a woman, because she [is] Asian," Chien Shiung is passed over for jobs. Yet her advocacy and sheer talent cannot be ignored for much longer. Huang utilizes spirited mixed-media images with a neutral palette to illuminate Shiung's journey. Robeson is seemingly engrossed in the details, giving the longer-than-usual text the feel of a recitation of facts.The fascinating life of the subject compensates for a somewhat dry and lengthy narration. (Picture book/biography. 6-9) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.