Strong Force – The Story of Physicist Shirley Ann Jackson

Strong Force – The Story of Physicist Shirley Ann Jackson
  • Book
  • 110 pages
  • Level: all audiences

This book by Diane O’Connell is a biography of Shirley Ann Jackson, the first African-American woman to obtain a Ph.D. from MIT (her field of study was nuclear physics). She went on to work at places including Fermilab, CERN, Stanford, and Bell Laboratories, and in the 1990’s was made head of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission. She later became president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. While the book is primarily about Jackson’s scientific career and the challenges she faced, it does discuss the role that church played in Jackson’s life, and her “strong belief in God”.

Strong Force is published by the Joseph Henry Press, an imprint of the National Academies Press, and by Scholastic. It is written at a middle school level. The following is from Scholastic:

Shirley Ann Jackson sees the unseen. She’s an expert in the invisible particles that make up everything in the universe, including you. Shirley Ann Jackson is a theoretical physicist, a scientist who studies the subatomic world using only paper, pencils, computers, and the most important tool of all: her imagination. Her passion for science blossomed during her childhood, with bumblebee experiments and go-cart races. But it”s her talent for math and her drive to succeed that have taken her career in amazing directions. Shirley uses her knowledge of electrons, neutrinos, and other particles of matter to better the lives of others—from solving important technology problems to teaching college physics to making nuclear power plants safer. A born leader, Shirley has always seized opportunities and broken down racial barriers, not only for herself but for others. Strong Force is the compelling story of an African American trailblazer and her science. Compelling and captivating, this true story of adventure traces the life of a an African American Trailblazer and her science. Compelling and captivating, this true story of adventure traces the life of a young bee collector who lived her dream of becoming a world-renowned physicist.

Click here for a preview, courtesy of the National Academies Press.

Click here for more information from the National Academies Press.