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Claremont High School
Tri-City (Los Angeles County)
My illustration depicts “The First Lady of Physics”, Chien-Shiung Wu, as well as Tsung-Dao Lee and Yang-Chen Ning, two figures with significant contributions to parity violation. These individuals made a crucial contribution to physics by disproving the law of conservation of parity, outlining that the laws of physics must remain the same for two systems that are mirror images of each other. Lee, Ning and Wu all contributed to the conclusion that parity could not be assumed in all instances, particularly in weak interactions, however only Ning and Lee walked away with a Nobel Prize in Physics. Using the idea of two mirrored images behaving differently, I illustrated how the scientists were all crucial to the experiment, but only Lee and Ning were recognized/reflected. Wu would receive a Wolf Prize several years after the experiment, but it is no doubt that her contributions to parity violation were overlooked, exemplifying the gender bias that has been fostered not only in STEM, but also across the globe for several years. Wu was not only an incredible physicist, but also an advocate for equality in STEM, questioning if “…the tiny atoms and nuclei, or the mathematical symbols, or the DNA molecules have any preference for either masculine or feminine treatment” (Chien-Shiung Wu at MIT, 1964). Such instances of injustice can easily be excused as things of the past, but it is crucial that we acknowledge how gender discrimination has, and still does, prevail in the world.