Katherine Johnson: 101 Years Young!

August 26, 1918 : Katherine Johnson Born
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▪Johnson was born in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia

▪Johnson graduated from high school at the age of fourteen and from college at eighteen, she then taught high school math

▪In 1953 Johnson began working in the all-black West Area Computing section at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics at Langley Laboratory in Hampton Virginia, this section was headed by Dorothy Vaughan

▪At Langley Johnson was part of a team that tested airplanes while in flight by analyzing turbulence and wind gust to research ways to prevent the planes from crashing

▪While Johnson conducted the research she was not allowed to attend the meetings with experts to prepare the reports because she was a woman, this all changed due to her persistence, and she was finally allowed in a meeting and became the first woman in her group to sign her name to a report

▪When Langley purchased machine computers Johnson learned how to program them and taught other women how to do so as well

▪Johnson helped to calculate the pathways of John Glenn’s 1962 orbit around the Earth

▪Johnson contributed calculations that allowed for the sucessful mission of Apollo 11 to the moon in 1969

▪In 1970 Johnson’s research enabled the crew of Apollo 13 to make a safe return to Earth after their mission to the moon was aborted

▪Johnson worked for Langley for thirty-three years

▪In 2015 President Barack Obama awarded Johnson the Presidential Medal of Freedom

▪In 2016 a new building was dedicated at Langley in honor of Johnson named the, “Katherine G. Johnson Computational Research Facility”
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Book Feature: Counting on Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Saved Apollo 13 (2018)
Written by: Helaine Becker
Illustrated by: Dow Phumiruk

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