In 1939, the president of the newly integrated West Virginia University offered a place in the graduate mathematics program to Kathryn Johnson and two others. Her knowledge made her invaluable to her superiors and her assertiveness won her a spot in previously all-male meetings. Katherine was only 10 years old. Being a black woman entering into the male dominated field in 1953 was a monumental accomplishment and spoke volumes of her self confidence and determination, not to mention her skill. In honor of her centenary, let's look at five extraordinary facts about Katherine Johnson.
Early Career, Racism, and Family Katherine Johnson began working at a black public school in Virginia. I asked questions; I wanted to know why. Whereas men with similar qualifications were classified as professionals, the women were sub-professionals. Johnson is her married name from her second husband but, for the sake of simplicity, we will use the name Katherine up to the point when she married for the second time. Johnson made invaluable contributions to our history, and deserves our recognition and respect. They began to formulate possible problems and backup solutions and developed simple navigational methods for the astronauts to use in case they lost contact with ground control. He'd tell me that I should know the answer, and I finally had to tell him that I did know the answer, but the other students did not.
They were introduced by the minister at Carver Memorial Presbyterian Church in Newport News, Virginia, where Katherine sang in the choir. Later in her career, she worked on the space shuttle program, the Earth Resources Satellite, and on plans for a mission to Mars. Katherine developed the first emergency navigation systems for astronauts by star-mapping. The women crunched all the data used by the all-male research teams. This was not the only way that there was discrimination against women. Black mathematicians, however, were segregated in their own office and loaned out to various divisions as needed.
Katherine was assertive, asking to be included in editorial meetings where no women had gone before. Johnson received a temporary assignment to one of these teams and her knowledge of analytical geometry helped win her favor with the men. In May 2006, Capitol College of Laurel Maryland awarded Katherine an honorary Doctor of Science. Johnson Computational Research Facility at the Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. Some things will drop out of the public eye and will go away, but there will always be science, engineering and technology. She co-authored or wrote 26 scientific papers throughout the course of her career.
In the mid-1970s she began working on new more practical ways to track near-earth orbits and interplanetary space vehicles. Along with fellow team members, Katherine was given a souvenir flag that made the trip with Armstrong and his crew. Later, they had to change buses. She felt that the University was reacting to the Supreme Court decision in 1938 which declared that States had to provide the same educational opportunities for black Americans as for white, either by creating separate institutions or allowing them to attend the same institution. Katherine Coleman Goble Johnson was born in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, on August 26, 1918.
After noticing that female employees were never present at meetings or briefings, she asked her superiors if it was illegal for women to participate. From a young age, Johnson enjoyed mathematics and could easily solve mathematical equations. In 2015, Johnson received her most prestigious award yet. Davis, handpicked Johnson and two other Black students both men for spots in the university. In 1969 her work was instrumental in landing men on the moon. Johnson graduated with a Bachelors in Math and French with Honors in 1937.
In 1959 Katherine married James A Johnson. During the academic year, Mr. At West Virginia State College she was taught mathematics by James Carmichael Evans 1900-1988. As an integral member of the team she helped write the first textbook on space. To learn more, visit for her Presidential Medal of Freedom and for lessons Katherine would like to pass on to the next generation.
You confronted the obstacles imposed by the forces of Nature and helped launch our country into the space frontier. Professor made sure I was prepared to be a research mathematician. Johnson enrolled as a graduate math student, but left school before completing her degree in order to start a family. During his State of the Union Address, President Obama gave a shout-out to American inventors and innovators who changed the course of the country. In 1968 and 1999, she was honored as the West Virginia State College Outstanding Alumnus of the Year for her scientific achievements.
But did far more that simply encourage, he made sure she took all the right courses and when he realised that she would need a background in analytic geometry that the College did not offer, he simply put on a course just for Katherine. Johnson was one of the 17 recipients of the 2015 Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama in November 2015. Johnson's high-school and college teacher Angie Turner King a major influence. Your genius in mathematics and physics helped obliterate physical barriers and greatly contributed to placing the first American astronaut in space. She was fortunate to have as a teacher for he only taught at West Virginia State College from 1934 to 1937. She also first helped with the Space Shuttle program and then on plans for a Mars mission.