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Fun Facts about Tu YouYou

by Darcy Pattison

"...engaging story of scientific research, hope, and determination." Kirkus Reviews

People were dying! Malaria is a deadly mosquito-borne disease that causes fevers, chills and often death. In 1969, the People’s Republic of China created a task force to find a cure.

Working in the 1970s, Chinese scientist Tu Youyou reviewed the traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) scrolls for ideas on where to start her research. She found 640 traditional treatments, and methodically started extracting compounds and testing them against malaria. Would any of them work?

Courage, resilience, and perseverance--follow the struggles of Nobel Prize scientist Tu Youyou as she works to find a cure to malaria. Learn the forgotten facts about her critical research, which revolutionized the medical field and saved millions of lives.

Who Was Tu YouYou?

Tu YouYou (1930- ) was the first Chinese national and the first woman to win a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for her cure for malaria. Working under harsh conditions, she extracted compounds from thousands of plants to discover a chemical that killed the Plasmodium falciparum parasites that causes malaria. She tested the medicine on herself first. When it was successful, other human trials proved it worked.

Important Facts About Tu YouYou

  • YouYou studied traditional Chinese medicine. She tested traditional treatments by extracting compounds from recommended plants.
  • YouYou and her team tested over 240,000 compounds that failed.
  • YouYou received the Nobel Prize in 2015.
  • The malaria project was called Project 523 because it was created at a meeting on May 23.



    Moments in Science logo

    This eight-book series of nonfiction STEM books highlights biographies of scientists and moments when science changes in some way: a discovery, a new understanding, a new photo, or a Nobel prize award. Scientist's biographies combine with an historical event, and they are wrapped up in clear, concise, and fun explanations of scientific principles. Come and have fun reading an excellent nonfiction picture books.

    This series has received a starred review, two NSTA Outstanding Science Trade Books, Junior Library Guild selection, NSSTA Notable Social Studies Book, and the Eureka! NonFiction Honor award (CA Reading Assn.). 

  • See the entire MOMENTS IN SCIENCE series here.


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