Katherine Johnson: The Human Computer

Katherine Johnson celebrated her 100th birthday on August 26th, 2018. An African-American “human computer” who overcame racial and gender discrimination, to become a crucial part of the US’s space programme. Katherine was part of the NASA “computer pool” where she hand-calculated America’s first successful trip to Space. Born in 1918, West Virginia where education for black people ended at eighth grade. However, her parents saw potential in Katherine and they sent her to high school where she graduated at age 14. In 1937, at age 18, Katherine graduated from West Virginia State University. She became a math teacher but her eyes were set to become a research mathematician. Further on, an executive order prohibit racial discrimination in the defense industry that lead to job openings at Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory. In which, Johnson worked at the “West Area Computing” and Flight Research Division. She overcame and triumph in a place were men dominated in that industry. Her work helped map the moon’s surface and played a role in the safe return of the Apollo 13 astronauts. (-Ahmed and Grinberg)

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