Katherine Goble Johnson

Brilliant Mathematician & Human Computer

Read more

As a computer, she calculated the trajectory for Alan Shepard, the first American in space. Even after NASA began using electronic computers, John Glenn requested that she personally recheck the calculations made by the new electronic computers before his flight aboard Friendship 7- the mission on which he became the First American to orbit the Earth.
— NASA


 

As extraordinary as the equations she used to help send John Glenn to orbit

I counted everything: the steps, the dishes, the stars in the sky, says Katherine Johnson of her childhood. Math has given her joy for as long as she can remember, and it seems that becoming a professional mathematician was her destiny. As an African-American woman from rural West Virginia...the path that brought her to the profession seems as extraordinary as the equations she used to help send John Glenn into orbit around the earth and land Neil Armstrong on the moon.
— The Human Computer Project was founded in 2014 to tell the stories of pioneering women who worked as mathematicians and 'computers' during the early days of the NACA and NASA space program.