Katherine Johnson, NASA’s “human computer” responsible for the computations needed for mankind’s first step on the moon, turns 100! Working behind the scenes, Johnson hand-crunched the numbers for NASA’s first-ever manned space flight involving the famous Neil Armstrong and his team.
This lady mathematician is a legend in NASA‘s ranks. Being given the impossible never-before-done task of sending a manned spacecraft to the moon, Johnson stepped up to the challenge and made the missions successful.
Katherine Johnson was born in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia on August 26, 1918.
She was born into an era where space expedition was a thing for the imagination and women’s rights, and contributions are not that welcome.
It also did not add to her credentials that she is born African-American.
Nevertheless, Johnson, with her beautifully brilliant mathematical mind, persevered and advanced in her field like no other woman did during her time.
Telling NASA, Johnson said,
“The women did what they were told to do. They didn’t ask questions or take the task any further. I asked questions; I wanted to know why. They got used to me asking questions and being the only woman there.”
Johnson was also credited for many notable achievements.
She was responsible for the calculations for the Alan Shepard space trip in 1961 and the moon landing in 1969. She was also a co-awardee of the NASA Lunar Orbiter Award and three NASA Special Achievement awards.
She was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015, presented by none other than former president Barack Obama, whom she dearly calls her “boo.”
On a tweet, the West Virginia State University publicized the erected statue of her complemented by a scholarship in honor of her name.
The tweet reads:
“Today the University community gathered to dedicate a statue and scholarship in honor of our amazing alum Katherine Johnson. The statue will serve as a source of inspiration to current and future students of all that is possible through dedication, hard work and perseverance.”
Katherine Johnson is a brilliant woman who deserves all the honor she receives.
May she serve as an inspiration for generations to come.
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