Reaching for the Moon: The Autobiography of NASA Mathematician Katherine Johnson

Posted in Autobiography, Books, Media Archive, Monographs, United States, Women on 2019-09-09 00:15Z by Steven

Reaching for the Moon: The Autobiography of NASA Mathematician Katherine Johnson

Atheneum Books for Young Readers (an imprint of Simon and Schuster)
2019-07-02
288 pages
Hardcover ISBN 13: 9781534440838
eBook ISBN 13: 9781534440852

Katherine Johnson

The inspiring autobiography of NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson, who helped launch Apollo 11.

Throughout Katherine Johnson’s extraordinary career, there hasn’t been a boundary she hasn’t broken through or a ceiling she hasn’t shattered. In the early 1950s, she joined the organization that would one day become NASA, and which had only just begun to hire black mathematicians. Her job there was to analyze data and calculate the complex equations needed for successful space flights. As a black woman in an era of brutal racism and sexism, Katherine faced daily challenges and often wasn’t taken seriously by the scientists and engineers she worked with. But her colleagues couldn’t ignore her obvious gifts—or her persistence. Soon she was computing the trajectory for Alan Shepard’s first flight and working on the Apollo 11 mission that landed the first men on the moon. Katherine’s life has been a succession of achievements, each one greater than the last.

Katherine Johnson’s story was made famous in the bestselling book and Oscar-nominated film Hidden Figures. Now in Reaching for the Moon she tells her own story for the first time, in a lively autobiography that will inspire young readers everywhere.

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NASA Renames Facility After Katherine Johnson of ‘Hidden Figures’ Fame

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2019-02-25 01:25Z by Steven

NASA Renames Facility After Katherine Johnson of ‘Hidden Figures’ Fame

The New York Times
2019-02-23

Elisha Brown


Katherine Johnson, left, and Christine Darden, two of the first African-American women to work as mathematicians at NASA. The agency named a facility in Ms. Johnson’s honor on Friday. Chet Strange for The New York Times

NASA on Friday officially renamed a facility in West Virginia after Katherine Johnson, an African-American mathematician and centenarian whose barrier-breaking career was depicted in the film “Hidden Figures.”

The 2016 film, based on a book released earlier that year, depicted the struggle of Ms. Johnson and other black women for equality at NASA during the height of the space age and segregation. The mathematician tracked the trajectories of crucial missions in the 1960s.

“I am thrilled we are honoring Katherine Johnson in this way as she is a true American icon who overcame incredible obstacles and inspired so many,” Jim Bridenstine, the administrator of NASA, said Friday in a statement. A dedication ceremony is to be held at a later time.

The newly renamed facility, which is in Fairmont, W.Va., will now be known as the Katherine Johnson Independent Verification and Validation Facility. The program housed at the facility monitors the software used to track high-profile NASA missions, according to the agency’s website…

Read the entire article here.

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Bristol school drops Colston name and replaces it with African-American, female mathematician’s

Posted in Articles, Campus Life, History, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Religion, Slavery, United Kingdom on 2019-02-10 23:35Z by Steven

Bristol school drops Colston name and replaces it with African-American, female mathematician’s

The Bristol Post
Bristol, United Kingdom
2019-02-10

Tristan Cork, Senior Reporter


An 18th century engraving of Edward Colston

All the other house names have been dropped in favour of more diverse role models

One of Bristol’s oldest state schools has decided to ditch the names of its houses – including one named after Edward Colston – in favour of more inspiring names who are better role models.

St Mary Redcliffe and Temple School has a house system with five houses, all named after historic figures from the school’s, and Bristol’s, past.

That system has operated for decades, but from the start of the next academic year in September, they will be replaced.

The school, which is the only Church of England secondary school in the Diocese of Bristol, has come under pressure for its links to the controversial slave trader Edward Colston in recent years, and that included calls to rename one of the five school ‘houses’ which is named after him.

The school groups students into five houses, from when they start in Year 7 to Year 11.

Pupils start in James House in Year 7, before being split into four different houses until they take their GCSEs

Colston House will become Johnson House


Katherine Johnson

Edward Colston is one of the most prominent and divisive figures in Bristol’s history. A Bristol-born merchant, he effectively ran the Royal Africa Company in London, before helping to open it up for Bristol.

As well as a statue of him in The Centre, there are roads, buildings, schools and homes named after him, with the use of his name across Bristol increasingly controversial.

Katherine Johnson was an African-American mathematician whose calculations of orbital mechanics were critical to the success of America’s first manned spaceflights.

She effectively worked out how man could land on the moon during the Apollo missions, and her calculations also were essential to the beginning of the Space Shuttle programme. She was portrayed in the 2016 film Hidden Figures.

Read the entire article here.

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‘Hidden Figures’ NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson to release autobiography next year

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2019-01-21 18:48Z by Steven

‘Hidden Figures’ NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson to release autobiography next year

The Los Angeles Times
2018-12-20

Michael Schaub

'Hidden Figures' NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson to release autobiography next year 
This combination photo shows, Katherine Johnson in the press room at the Oscars in Los Angeles on Feb. 26, 2017, left, and her book “Reaching For the Moon: The Autobiography of NASA Mathematician Katherine Johnson.” ((Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, left, and Atheneum Books for Young Readers))

Katherine Johnson, the pioneering NASA mathematician and computer scientist whose work was integral to the Apollo 11 mission to the moon, will release an autobiography for young readers next year.

The 100-year-old Johnson, who was portrayed by Taraji P. Henson in the hit 2016 movie “Hidden Figures,” will tell her life story in “Reaching for the Moon,” a book for middle-grade readers, publisher Atheneum Books for Young Readers announced in a news release.

Johnson, a West Virginia native, was hired by the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, the predecessor to NASA, in 1953. She worked as a “human computer,” or a mathematician who could perform complicated calculations manually…

Read the entire article here.

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Katherine Johnson, who hand-crunched the numbers for America’s first manned space flight, is 100 today

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2018-08-27 21:50Z by Steven

Katherine Johnson, who hand-crunched the numbers for America’s first manned space flight, is 100 today

Cable News Network (CNN)
2018-08-26

Saeed Ahmed, Senior Editor, Trends, CNN Digital

Emanuella Grinberg, Digital news reporter

Katherine Johnson worked in the "Computer Pool" at NASA.
Katherine Johnson worked in the “Computer Pool” at NASA.

(CNN)—Katherine Johnson, the woman who hand-calculated the trajectory for America’s first trip to space, turns 100 today.

Before the arrival of electronic data processors, aka, computers in the 1960s, humans — mainly women — comprised the workforce at NASA known as the “Computer Pool.”

Black women, especially, played a crucial role in the pool, providing mathematical data for NASA’s first successful space missions, including Alan Shepherd’s 1961 mission and John Glenn’s pioneering orbital spaceflight

Read the entire article here.

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Hidden Figures is a Black, not white, Women’s Story

Posted in Articles, History, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2018-06-30 03:02Z by Steven

Hidden Figures is a Black, not white, Women’s Story

Medium
2017-11-22

Chanda Prescod-Weinstein


NASA Administrator Charles Bolden presents an award to Katherine Johnson, the African American mathematician, physicist, and space scientist, who calculated flight trajectories for John Glenn’s first orbital flight in 1962, at a reception to honor members of the segregated West Area Computers division of Langley Research Center on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016, at the Virginia Air and Space Center in Hampton, VA. Afterward, the guests attended a premiere of “Hidden Figures” a film which stars Taraji P. Henson as Katherine Johnson, Octavia Spencer as Dorothy Vaughan, and Janelle Monae as Mary Jackson. (image: a brown skinned man in a suit handing a plaque to a brown skinned woman in a wheelchair with a brown skinned woman standing behind the wheelchair.)
NASA/Aubrey Gemignani

It’s important to know the difference between “marginalized” and “hidden”

These remarks were made in my role as respondent to a paper on the (white) women students of (white woman) astronomer Maria Mitchell at the 2017 Society of History of Technology meeting. They were well received by the person whose work I was commentating on.

I will respond by offering a history of my own knowledge of women in astronomy. My interest in the Hidden Figures has been strongly shaped by my own experiences as a Black woman working at the intersection of physics and astrophysics. As an undergraduate at Harvard in the early 2000s, I was aware of the white women who had acted as computers for the Harvard College Observatory — this was history that astronomy undergraduates were privy to and that someone (I don’t remember who) took some effort to ensure that at the least women undergraduates learned about. The idea that their history or role was hidden, for this reason, has always seemed jarring to me. They were not hidden to us even as we recognized that more broadly they were a site of disinterest for many, but it was always made clear to me as an undergraduate that while their opportunities were limited, white women astronomers had been part of early American astronomy and that they had played a significant role in my own sub field, cosmology. (As in, without Harvard Computer Henrietta Leavitt’s discovery of the cepheid variable luminosity relation, Hubble could not have discovered the expansion of the universe. Of course, I didn’t learn until much later that Leavitt was a deaf adult, and it is interesting what parts of her story were left out.)…

Read the entire article here.

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Virginia Officials, Hidden Figures Author Join NASA in Honoring Legacy of Famed Mathematician; Live on NASA Television

Posted in Articles, Live Events, Media Archive, United States, Virginia, Women on 2017-09-22 15:48Z by Steven

Virginia Officials, Hidden Figures Author Join NASA in Honoring Legacy of Famed Mathematician; Live on NASA Television

National Aeronautics and Space Administration
NASA Langley
Media Advisory M17-105

Karen Northon
Headquarters, Washington, D.C.
202-358-1540

Mike Finneran
Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia
757-864-6110

2017-09-07


The Katherine G. Johnson Computational Research Facility at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia.
Credits: NASA

U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, and author Margot Lee Shetterly are among the dignitaries honoring Katherine Johnson, former NASA employee and central character of the book and movie Hidden Figures, at 1 p.m. [EDT] Sept. 22 at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia.

They will join Hampton Mayor Donnie Tuck and Langley Center Director David Bowles in cutting the ribbon to officially open the center’s new Katherine G. Johnson Computational Research Facility, a state-of-the-art lab for innovative research and development supporting NASA’s exploration missions.

The event will air live on NASA Television and the agency’s website. Media wishing to attend must contact Michael Finneran of the Langley communications office at 757-864-6110 or michael.p.finneran@nasa.gov.

Johnson, 99, will attend and participate in photo opportunities, but will not be available for interviews. A prerecorded message from her will be aired during the ceremony and a statement will be read.

Johnson was a “human computer” at Langley who calculated trajectories for America’s first spaceflights in the 1960s. The retired mathematician was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, in 2015. Her contributions and those of other NASA African-American human computers are chronicled in the 2016 movie Hidden Figures, based on Lee-Shetterly’s book of the same name. She worked at Langley from 1953 until she retired in 1986.

For more about Johnson, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/content/katherine-johnson-biography

The Katherine G. Johnson Computational Research Facility (CRF) is a $23-million, 37,000-square-foot, energy efficient structure that consolidates five Langley data centers and more than 30 server rooms. The facility will enhance NASA’s efforts in modeling and simulation, big data, and analysis. Much of the work now done by wind tunnels eventually will be performed by computers like those at the CRF.

For more information about Langley Research Center, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/langley

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Katherine Johnson is not the first black woman to accomplish some of the things she did but the first woman, period.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2017-03-13 01:52Z by Steven

“I’ve seen some of the interviews NASA has done with its modern figures’—women of color at NASA who are scientists, mathematicians and engineers, and they make me really happy,” [Heather] Graham says, “because I want the message to get out that Katherine Johnson’s achievements aren’t history but rather the beginning of a movement of women in space science! Katherine Johnson is not the first black woman to accomplish some of the things she did but the first woman, period. She’s such an all purpose hero!”

Linda Billings, “Before “Hidden Figures,” There Was a Rock Opera About NASA’s Human Computers,” Air & Space Magazine, February 3, 2017. http://www.airspacemag.com/daily-planet/hidden-figures-there-was-rock-opera-about-nasas-human-computers-180961980/.

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Before “Hidden Figures,” There Was a Rock Opera About NASA’s Human Computers

Posted in Articles, Arts, Biography, History, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2017-03-13 01:30Z by Steven

Before “Hidden Figures,” There Was a Rock Opera About NASA’s Human Computers

Air & Space Magazine
2017-02-03

Linda Billings, Senior Editor

Katherine Johnson’s inspirational story came to the Baltimore stage in 2015, thanks to another space scientist.

Hidden Figures,” the story of three African-American women whose mathematical skill helped NASA launch astronauts into space and back in the early 1960s, has been both a critical and box office success. With more than $100 million in ticket sales and a stack of award nominations, the movie has inspired audiences with a true story made even more powerful by virtue of the fact that it was largely untold for 50 years. And still mostly unknown is the story of another NASA scientist who beat Hollywood to the punch by putting “human computer” Katherine Johnson’s saga on stage almost two years ago.

Heather Graham is an astrobiologist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center outside Washington, D.C. She’s also a gamer, a feminist, and a member of the Baltimore Rock Opera Society. In May 2015, the society staged Graham’s one-act rock opera, “Determination of Azimuth,” which portrays how Johnson and her colleagues Mary Jackson and Dorothy Vaughan, were ignored and demeaned on the job at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Virginia, because they were black and female. The story has a happy ending: Their work was validated, their expertise accepted. But they had to endure racism and sexism along the way…

Read the entire article here.

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‘Hidden’ no more: Katherine Johnson, a black NASA pioneer, finds acclaim at 98

Posted in Articles, Biography, Media Archive, United States, Women on 2017-02-03 15:02Z by Steven

‘Hidden’ no more: Katherine Johnson, a black NASA pioneer, finds acclaim at 98

The Washington Post
2017-01-27

Victoria St. Martin

Fame has finally found Katherine Johnson — and it only took a half-century, six manned moon landings, a best-selling book and an Oscar-nominated movie.

For more than 30 years, Johnson worked as a NASA mathematician at Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., where she played an unseen but pivotal role in the country’s space missions. That she was an African American woman in an almost all-male and white workforce made her career even more remarkable.

Now, three decades after retiring from the agency, Johnson is portrayed by actress Taraji P. Henson in “Hidden Figures,” a film based on a book of the same name. The movie tells how a group of black women — world-class mathematicians all — helped provide NASA with data crucial to the success of the agency’s early spaceflights. “Hidden Figures” was nominated Tuesday for an Academy Award for best picture.

Suddenly Johnson, who will turn 99 in August, finds herself inundated with interview requests, award banquet invitations and people who just want to stop by and shake her hand.

“I’m glad that I’m young enough still to be living and that they are, so they can look and see, ‘That’s who that is,’ ” she said. “And they are as excited as I am.”

For many people, especially African Americans, her tale of overcoming racism and sexism is inspirational…

Read the entire article here.

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