Katherine Johnson, pioneering black female NASA mathematician, dies at age 101

by Daniel Payne · Feb 24th, 2020 2:57 pm

Katherine Johnson, a mathematician who broke down barriers as one of the first black female mathematical theorists for NASA, died on Monday at 101 years old.

Johnson, whose storied career was depicted in the film "Hidden Figures," initially worked for the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, prior to that division being absorbed into the then-new National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Her work at NASA included computations for Project Mercury, which led to the first manned spaceflight in U.S. history.

Johnson also did computations for John Glenn's legendary spaceflights around the globe, reportedly at the personal request of Glenn himself.

She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Barack Obama in 2015. The cause of her death on Monday was not immediately announced.


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