Katherine Johnson, NASA Mathematician and ‘Hidden Figures’ Inspiration, Dies At 101
Katherine Johnson, after a lifetime of tearing down racial and gender barriers, has died at the age of 101.
Johnson was a brilliant, yet unheralded, NASA Mathematician who played an influential role in calculating the precise trajectories needed to get Apollo 11 to the moon.
Johnson was one of the many black female mathematicians who expertly performed the calculations needed to successfully orbit the first American around Earth and send the first American into space. Her most well-known achievement is being a part of the team that made it possible for Neil Armstrong to land on the moon and perform his famous moonwalk.
Many know Mrs. Johnson as being the inspiration for the 2016 movie “Hidden Figures.” However, the NASA mathematician wasn’t always recognized for her remarkable 33 years of work in NASA’s Flight Research Division due to the fact that she was both black and female.
Fortunately, in 2015, Johnson received the recognition she deserved when President Barack Obama awarded her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The 2016 release of the movie also brought on long-overdue praise for Johnson and the dozens of other black women who spent years as, well, “hidden figures.”
Despite all the recognition and amid all the praise, Mrs. Johnson remained humble, often saying that she was “just doing her job.”
Jim Bridenstine tweeted “The @NASA family will never forget Katherine Johnson’s courage and the milestones we could not have reached without her. Her story and her grace continue to inspire the world.”
Today, we remember Katherine Johnson and remain inspired by her ability to transcend racial and gender barriers while pioneering the way for remarkable milestones.
Our @NASA family is sad to learn the news that Katherine Johnson passed away this morning at 101 years old. She was an American hero and her pioneering legacy will never be forgotten. https://t.co/UPOqo0sLfb pic.twitter.com/AgtxRnA89h— Jim Bridenstine (@JimBridenstine) February 24, 2020