Katharine Johnson

NASA mathematician, Katharine Johnson, passed away at the age of 101 recently. She is noted for not only for her mathematical prowess but also for her role in breaking racial and gender barriers.

  • Who was Katharine Johnson?

Katharine Johnson was a NASA mathematician noted for her contributions for doing the calculations for missions that sent people to space. She is the winner of 2015 Presidential Medal of Freedom and the 2019 Congressional Gold Medal in USA.

  • What are her major contributions?

Some of her major contributions are calculating the trajectory of the USA’s first manned space trip in 1961 undertaken by Alan Shepard, contributions to the 1969 Apollo 11 landing on the moon, etc. She was noted for breaking gender and racial barriers in NASA (as she was African American).

  • Who are Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson?

Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson were fellow African American women who were members of the all black West Area Computing section of NASA (NACA back then). Johnson was also a member of this section. Mary Jackson became the first female African American engineer for NASA in 1958.

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