Archival Collections
Columbia University Archives

C.S. (Chien-Shiung) Wu Papers, 1945-1994 (bulk 1960-1979) 

Phys. Desc: 
9.5 cubic feet (9 record cartons, 1 manuscript box)
Columbia University Archives
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Biographical Note

C.S. (Chien-Shiung) Wu was born in 1912 in a small town near Shanghai, China to Wu Zhongyi, a 1911 revolution participant. After graduating from Soochow Girls School in 1930, she received her undergraduate degree from Nanjing University in 1934 where she studied physics. Wu emigrated to the United States in 1936 to seek post-doctoral programs in physics. She attended the University of California at Berkeley and received her Ph.D. in 1940. In 1944, the Division of War Research at Columbia University recruited Wu for work at a secret facility in New York for the development of sensitive radiation detectors for the atomic bomb project. Her research included groundbreaking work on beta decay, the irregularity of K-meson decay in particles accelerators, and K-meson's violation of parity among other topics. She became a full professor in 1948 and in 1972, Columbia University named Wu the Michael I. Pupin Professor of Physics. Wu died on February 16, 1997 in New York.

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of speeches, reports, publications, research notes, and correspondence. The correspondence is mostly professional, relating to C.S. Wu's physics research, professional commitments, appointments, meetings, conferences, and publications. A majority of the collection relates to Wu's involvement in the American Physical Society as well as her research activities. Correspondence is with individuals around the world praising Wu for her accomplishments as well as asking advice, arranging speaking engagements, discussing administrative matters, trading research notes, information on publications, etc. The collection also contains information on Wu's involvement in the development of an affirmative action program at Columbia University in the 1970s.