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Joan Hinton
Please vote to return to collections (Voting Results will appear on Right Sidebar).
    (October 20, 1921-June 8, 2010)
    Born in Chicago, Illinois
    Nuclear physicist
    Worked on the Manhattan Project that developed the atomic bomb
    Moved to China (1948) and established contact with Mao Zedong's Communist forces
    Became a translator, editor and dairy farmer in China
    Despite moving to China and becoming a dedicated Maoist, she kept her US citizenship, saying it was 'convenient for travel.'
    She lauded Mao's Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution in which millions died.
    She said, 'Sure, there were pockets of starvation... But on the whole it was great.' (An estimated 30 million people starved to death during the Great Leap Forward. Quite a pocket.)
    She described the market reforms of Deng Xiaoping and his successors as 'a betrayal of socialism.'
    A reporter noted, 'Once considered radical leftists by their native countrymen, Hinton and [her husband Sid] Engst are now too radical for most of China's countrymen.'
    Her father received a patent for inventing the jungle gym (1920).
    She was an excellent skier, qualifying for the US team that would have competed in the cancelled 1940 Winter Olympics.
    There was no evidence that she passed any nuclear secrets or worked as a physicist in China.
    She said she gave up physics for farming because 'I did not want to spend my life figuring out how to kill people.'
    She was married to fellow expatriate Erwin 'Sid' Engst for 54 years until his death.

Credit: C. Fishel

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