Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Katherine Johnson - 97 year-old inspiration for girls in STEM

In this month's ACM magazine, there is an interview with US Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith. You have to have ACM membership to access the article, but here's the quote from Megan Smith that caught my interest:
Katherine Johnson was a former computer who joined NASA. She was there when Sputnik went up, and she got pulled into the teams that calculated trajectories. She's an African American woman, and she's 97 years old now. She calculated the trajectories for Alan Shepard. John Glenn wouldn't even fly until Katherine double-checked the math! She stayed up like 12 hours recalculating, and if she got the right number, he would say "Okay, Katherine agrees, I'm going." She was one of the trajectory calculators of the Apollo mission, but she's not in the Apollo 13 movie.
It would have been a great bit in a movie. 

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