The Amazing Story of the First Lady of Physics

Five months after China ended 5,000 years of monarchy and became a republic, a girl named Chien-Shiung Wu was born. As a grown woman, she earned nicknames like the “Chinese Marie Curie,” “Madame Wu,” and the “Dragon Lady” by her students at Columbia University. This is the amazing story of the “First Lady of Physics.” Early Life Born on May 31, 1912, Chien-Shiung (pronounced Chen Shoong) Wu was the only daughter and middle child of three. Her parents were, Zhong-Yi and Fanhua Fan. They lived in Liuhe, a small town near Shanghai, China. Wu’s parents wanted their daughter to study science and mathematics, but no schools in China admitted females. So her father (an engineer by training) started one of the first schools in China for girls, the Mingde Women’s Vocational Continuing School. He served as headmaster and her mother worked as a teacher. At 11, Wu continued her education at the boarding school, Suzhou Women’s Normal School Number 2. Students who attended the “normal school” (teacher-training college) wanted to go to college. When she finished school, government regulations required that she teach for a year. Wu served as a teacher at the Public School of China, in Shanghai in […]

The Amazing First Native American Woman Doctor

It was an age where women couldn’t vote, non-whites rarely went to school, and the American government said Native Americans weren’t citizens. The odds were against Susan LaFlesche Picotte. Some of her own people rejected her learning and caregiving. But she persisted. She earned a degree in medicine and worked tirelessly to improve her tribe’s health and welfare. Read about the amazing first Native American woman doctor and her people. Adapt to Survive Omaha Chief Big Elk visited Washington D.C. in 1837. There he saw a coming flood that would wipe out his people. He warned them they needed to adapt to survive. He chose a man with a similar vision to succeed him as chief of the Omaha Tribe. Joseph La Flesche, Susan’s father, was of French and Indian descent. Chief Joseph LaFlesche (Iron Eyes) was one of the seven Omaha chiefs who signed treaties ceding over 90% of the tribe’s land to the U.S. government in 1854. Chief LaFlesche made a bold push for assimilation. But not everyone in the tribe wanted to assimilate. The tribe split into two parties.  It is either civilization or extermination. Chief LaFlesche The Young Men’s Party built log cabins rather than teepees, […]

She Threw Off Her Veil and Changed the World

She threw off her veil and changed the world. Huda Shaarawi (pronunciation) grew up in a harem and became Egypt’s leading women’s rights activist. Also, a philanthropist and founder of the first Egyptian feminist organization, Huda’s defiance still influences the world today. Early Life Huda Shaarawi (Also Huda Sharawi, Hudā Shaʿrāwī, Hoda Charaaoui) was born June 23, 1879 to a wealthy, landed family about 150 miles south of Cairo. Her birth name was Nour Al-Huda Mohamed Sultan Shaarawi. Her father, Muhammad Sultan Pasha, the first Egyptian to rise through all the ranks of government, died when she was four or five. After his death, her eldest cousin, Ali Shaarawi, became the trustee of his estate and her legal guardian. The Harem Huda grew up in the harem system. A system that existed in Muslim countries from the 17th century to the early 20th century. Harems were a secure, private part of the house. The harem secluded women and prepubescent children in this portion of their home. Women wore veils when they left their rooms. Royalty and wealthy families often had large harems that included wives, concubines, and female attendants or maids. But even the poor had harems, though their quarters […]