Monday, August 27, 2018

Happy birthday, Katherine Johnson

Remember the movie Hidden Figures? It told the true story of unsung African-American lady mathematicians who did complex computations for the first U.S. manned space flights. The leader of the group was a math wizard named Katherine Johnson, shown here in 1966.

If you saw the movie, you recall that white, male mathematicians at NASA considered themselves far superior to black females and treated them rudely. In fact, the nearest bathrooms at NASA were "white only" and Katherine had to walk to another building to find one. Computers were just beginning to project spacecraft trajectories, but astronaut John Glenn refused to fly until Johnson manually verified the computer's numbers. Last Sunday, August 26, she celebrated her 100th birthday. A true American hero.

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