Chien-Shiung Wu was born in 1912 in Shanghai, China. In 1934, she received her Bachelor of Science degree in China, and two years later, she traveled to the United States. After receiving her Ph. D. from the University of California at Berkeley, she taught at Smith College before settling down at Princeton University in 1944. During World War II, Chien worked on the Manhattan Project and she also held several honorary positions at several Chinese Universities. She also became a professor of physics at Columbia University.
Chien was elected president of the American Physical Society, and became the first woman to do so. In 1957, she became a full professor at Columbia University, and she accomplished even more the year after. She became the first woman awarded the Research Corporation Award, received an honorary doctor of science degree from Princeton University, and was elected to the National Academy of Sciences.
In 1964, Chien became the first woman to receive the Comstock prize from the National Academy of Sciences. Then, in 1972, at Columbia University, Chien became the Pupin Professor of Physics.
Chien died in 1997, having contributed much in atomic research, beta decay, and weak interactions.