Pioneers in IT and Computer Science – Black History Month

Pioneers in IT and Computer Science – Black History Month


Michael Besisira
Michael Besisira
Pioneers in IT and Computer Science –...

This month is Black History Month and I thought it would be a good idea to shed light on those individuals who have made a difference in the world of Technology. There are a lot of people to choose from, but I thought I would share with you an individual who paved the way for women to pursue a career in a male-dominated industry. Her name is Katherine Johnson.

 

Working in the area of space travel geometry, Katherine Johnson calculated the orbits and trajectory of objects like the Earth, the moon, and spacecraft. Her job was to ensure that the paths taken by the NASA rockets were correct. Without her work, astronauts would not have landed in the right place and not got back home safe and sound. Katherine calculated launch windows, emergency return paths and worked on the Space Shuttle and Mission to Mars plans.

In 1962, as John Glenn was about to board the first space flight to take a person into space to orbit the earth he asked that Katherine Johnson should be called to check that the computer’s calculations for the flight path were correct, and only then would continue with the mission.

Because of the work which she has done with her colleagues, she has paved the way for other women to partake in a career working for NASA. More of her legacy can be seen in the film Hidden Figures which depicts all of the major events in her life. It is very powerful and inspiring given the challenges and struggles she and her co-workers had to endure during that period of time.

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