Hidden figures: Katherine Johnson clocks 100, honoured with life-size statue

Things We Saw Today: Happy 100th Birthday to NASA Mathematician Katherine Johnson!

Things We Saw Today: Happy 100th Birthday to NASA Mathematician Katherine Johnson!

Just a day before, she sat with hundreds of friends, family members and fans at West Virginia State University in Institute to celebrate with the unveiling of a statue and a scholarship dedicated in her honor.

The institution said that the scholarship of $100,000 also named in her honour would also award students majoring in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics).

Since her childhood in a segregated White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, Katherine Johnson has spent a lot of time counting.

Yesterday marked the momentous 100th birthday of Katherine Coleman Goble Johnson, the aerospace technologist and physicist whose calculations of orbital mechanics were pivotal in formulating emergency return paths for astronauts, the formation of the Space Shuttle Program and completing missions to Mars. She graduated from the school in 1937 at age 18 with bachelor's degrees in mathematics and French. Johnson was hired as a research mathematician at the Langley Research Center with the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), the agency that preceded NASA, after they opened hiring to African-Americans and women.

Katherine Johnson, considered a NASA human computer during the Space Race, was rightfully thrusted into the spotlight following the release of the 2016 film Hidden Figures, in which she was portrayed by Taraji P. Henson.

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Carlos Barria / Reuters Then-President Barack Obama presents the Presidential Medal of Freedom to NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson on November 24, 2015.

"I'm just lucky, the Lord likes me". In the 1960s, she used her knowledge of numbers to help pioneer space expeditions that helped shape America. Finally, Ted told him, "Katherine should finish the report, she's done most of the work anyway". She retired in 1989, and in 2015, she was awarded the National Medal of Freedom. It was a hard field for African-Americans, let alone African-American women to traverse through, however, after hearing from a family member that the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) was hiring mathematicians she stayed the course.

A day and a half of later, she proved the computer correct.

Johnson resides in Hampton, Virginia with her husband.

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. "It's a sign of her belief in her own gifts that she's the first to call attention to the work of others". In 1953, just as the US civil rights movement was taking off, Johnson joined the National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics - which later became NASA - as one of a handful of black women hired to do mathematical work.

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