NASA mathematician who calculated the trajectory of the Apollo 11 mission .Katherine Johnson (born Aug. 26, 1918)
Johnson was a physicist, space scientist and mathematician who played a major part in the early days of the space program. Johnson attended West Virginia State University, and in 1934 she earned a bachelor’s in French and mathematics. Her mentor was Dr. W.W. Schiefflin Claytor, the third African-American to earn a Ph.D. in mathematics. Claytor created a special course focusing on analytic geometry just for Johnson. In 1940, she attended West Virginia University to further her studies.
She dealt with the early application of digital electronic computers at NASA. Johnson was known for her mathematical accuracy in computerized celestial navigation. She was responsible for calculating the trajectory for the 1969 Apollo 11 flight to the moon. Essentially, she was a human computer.
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