Image

12:42 AM / Thursday April 9, 2020

28 Feb 2020

Pioneering Black mathematician Katherine Johnson dies

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
February 28, 2020 Category: Week In Review Posted by:

ABOVE PHOTO: Katherine Johnson (AP photo)

ASSOCIATED PRESS

HAMPTON, Va. — NASA says Katherine Johnson, a mathematician who worked on NASA’s early space missions and was portrayed in the film “Hidden Figures,” about pioneering Black female aerospace workers, has died.

Image

In a Monday morning tweet, the space agency said it celebrates her 101 years of life and her legacy of excellence and breaking down racial and social barriers.

Johnson was one of the so-called “computers” who calculated rocket trajectories and earth orbits by hand during NASA’s early years.

Until 1958, Johnson and other Black women worked in a racially segregated computing unit at what is now called Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. Their work was the focus of the Oscar-nominated 2016 film.

In 1961, Johnson worked on the first mission to carry an American into space. In 1962, she verified computer calculations that plotted John Glenn’s earth orbits.

At age 97, Johnson received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.

Johnson focused on airplanes and other research at first. But her work at NASA’s Langley Research Center eventually shifted to Project Mercury, the nation’s first human space program.

“Our office computed all the (rocket) trajectories,” Johnson told The Virginian-Pilot newspaper in 2012. “You tell me when and where you want it to come down, and I will tell you where and when and how to launch it.”

In 1961, Johnson did trajectory analysis for Alan Shepard’s Freedom 7 Mission, the first to carry an American into space. The next year, she manually verified the calculations of a nascent NASA computer, an IBM 7090, which plotted John Glenn’s orbits around the planet.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter

Leave a Comment

Recent News

Commentary

Divine Muva Diva: April 5, 2020

April 2, 2020

Tweet Share Pin Email Dear Muva: How do we as women harness and take hold of our...

Food And Beverage

Philadelphia adds food sites for residents in need

April 2, 2020

Tweet Share Pin Email Where to find free, nutritious food during the COVID-19 crisis In response to...

Entertainment

BET plans all-star coronavirus special; Broadway stays dark

April 8, 2020

Tweet Share Pin Email From finding ways to help others cope to sheltering in place to canceling...

Week In Review

Apr 9: Septa to close select stations, suspend certain regional rail and bus routes under New Lifeline Service

April 8, 2020

Tweet Share Pin Email New Lifeline service goes into effect on Thursday, April 9, 2020 across all...

Health

Lawmakers banning reusable bags at grocery stores due to coronavirus

April 8, 2020

Tweet Share Pin Email PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Just weeks ago, cities and even states across the...

Go With The-Flo

Lizzo treated a number of hospital staffs, when they were being overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients, to lunch

April 2, 2020

Tweet Share Pin Email ABOVE PHOTO: Lizzo (Photo: Lev Radin / shutterstock) By Florence Anthony According to...

The Philadelphia Sunday Sun Staff