Katherine Johnson: NASA's Computer That Wore a Skirt

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President Obama bestowed the Medal of Freedom to Johnson, a NASA mathematician who calculated and verified the travel trajectories that took the first Americans to space.

Johnson’s award is part of a larger effort by the Obama administration to recognize the “untold history” of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. To that end, in 2014 they unveiled the Untold History of Women in Science and Technology site, of which Johnson is now a part.

For those interested in more information about Dr. Johnson, there are many more pages about her:
Katherine Johnson: A Lifetime of STEM
She Was a Computer When Computers Wore Skirts
Katherine Johnson: National Visionary
Makers Profile: Katherine G. Johnson

My favorite anecdote is that in 1962, when NASA first used mechanical computers to calculate John Glenn’s trajectory to orbit the Earth, they asked Johnson to check the computer’s math.

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