Atomic advancer

The Postal Service dedicated its Chien-Shiung Wu stamp Feb. 11, honoring a one of the most influential nuclear physicists of the 20th century and a determined advocate for women in science.

The virtual ceremony, which was streamed on the USPS Facebook and Twitter pages, occurred on the International Day of Women and Girls in Science.

“It is a privilege to represent the U.S. Postal Service as we honor the life and achievements of Dr. Chien-Shiung Wu, and we believe that today … is perfect timing for this dedication,” said Kristin Seaver, the organization’s chief retail and delivery officer.

During a career that spanned more than 40 years in a field dominated by men, Wu (1912-1997) established herself as an authority on conducting precise and accurate research to test fundamental theories of physics.

Wu moved to the United States from China in 1936 and earned her doctorate in nuclear physics in 1940 from the University of California, Berkeley.

She later worked on uranium enrichment and radiation detectors for the Manhattan Project during World War II and made invaluable contributions to the experimental process of splitting and harnessing the power of the uranium atom, key to the production of the world’s first atomic bomb.

Other speakers during the ceremony included Vincent Yuan, a scientist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory and Wu’s son; Jada Yuan, Wu’s granddaughter; and Brian Greene, a professor of physics and mathematics at Columbia University.

The stamp, available at Post Offices and, features a detailed portrait of Wu wearing a black-and-white high-collared traditional Chinese gown known as a qipao.

“I am elated to have my mother honored by USPS on a postage stamp because I believe it goes beyond recognizing her scientific achievements; it also honors the determination and moral qualities that she embodied,” Vincent Yuan said. “It’s even more profound that the recognition comes from America, the country of her naturalization that she loved.”

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