Pioneering math expert of Hidden Figures has died
by Harvest Prude
Posted 2/24/20, 12:06 pm
Katherine Johnson, an African American mathematician who worked on NASA’s early space missions, has died. She was 101 years old.
Who was Johnson? She worked as one of the “computers” who calculated rocket trajectories and Earth orbits by hand for NASA. Until 1958, she worked with other black women in a racially segregated computing unit in Hampton, Va. Their work inspired the Oscar-nominated film Hidden Figures (2016). In 1961, Johnson worked on the mission that carried American astronaut Alan Shepard into orbit for the first time. She also helped calculate the trajectory for Apollo 11’s flight to the moon in 1969.
Dig deeper: Read Megan Basham’s review of Hidden Figures.
Read more from The Sift Sign up for The Sift email
Harvest is a reporter for WORLD based in Washington, D.C.