Black Women Mathematicians At Nasa, Katherine Johnson, Dies At 101

Black Women Mathematicians At Nasa, Katherine Johnson, Dies At 101

Updated on August 31, 2023 10:17 AM by Evelyn Mia

Black Women Mathematicians At Nasa, Katherine Johnson, Dies At 101

(Black Women Mathematicians At Nasa, Katherine Johnson, Dies At 101 Image Credits: The Famous People)

Her Contribute For NASA

Just with a little pencil and a slide rule, one of the finest mathematical minds in the country, Katherine Johnson, successfully calculated the precise trajectories that would help the flight of Alan B. Shepard Jr., who became the first American in space when his Mercury spacecraft went aloft in 1961. Her calculations also let Apollo 11 land on the moon in 1969 and return Neil Armstrong’s history-making moonwalk to Earth. The next year, she also helped John Glenn, in the Mercury vessel Friendship 7, to become the first American to orbit the Earth.

Who Is Katherine Johnson

But, it was so sad that Katherine Johnson’s 33 years in NASA’s Flight Research Division and for decades afterward, almost no one knew her name. She was a West Virginia native who began her scientific career in the age of Jim Crow, was also African-American and one of several hundred rigorously educated, supremely capable yet largely unheralded women. In old age, Katherine Johnson became the most celebrated of the small cadre of black women who at midcentury served as mathematicians for the space agency and its predecessor, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics.

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Katherine Johnson’s Achievement

Katherine Johnson’s Achievement

(Katherine Johnson’s Achievement Image Credits:The Christian Science Monitor)

In 2015, President Barack Obama awarded Katherine Johnson the Presidential Medal of Freedom, proclaiming that she refused to be limited by society’s expectations of her gender and race while expanding the boundaries of humanity’s reach. Not only that, in 2017, NASA dedicated a building in her honor, the Katherine G. Johnson Computational Research Facility, at its Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va.
If we track back to that year, 2017, according to The Washington Post, NASA’s administrator, Jim Bridenstin described Katherine Johnson as the most high-profile of the computers, because she helped their nation enlarge the frontiers of space, even as she made huge strides that also opened doors for women and people of color in the universal human quest to explore space.

The Story Was Filmed

Katherine Johnson and her predecessor, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics’s story was told in the 2016 Hollywood film titled ‘Hidden Figures’, based on Margot Lee Shetterly’s nonfiction book of the same title. The movie starred Taraji P. Henson as Katherine Johnson, also starred Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe as Katherine Johnson’s colleagues, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson.
In January 2017, ‘Hidden Figures’ received the Screen Actors Guild Award for outstanding performance by a cast in a motion picture. The film was also nominated for three Oscars, including best picture. Though it won none, Katherine Johnson received a sustained standing ovation when she appeared onstage with the cast at the Academy Awards ceremony that February. Of the black women at the center of the film, Katherine Johnson was the only one still living at the time of its release. By then, she had become the best-known member of her formerly unknown cohort.

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