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Tag: mathematicians
  • Katherine Johnson calculated -- by hand -- the flight trajectories for a number of historic missions, including the Apollo 11 flight to the Moon in 1969.

    When President Barack Obama awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Katherine Johnson in 2015, few people had even heard her name — but thanks to the smash success of the book Hidden Figures and its movie adaptation, this groundbreaking mathematician has become an inspiration for girls everywhere! Continue reading Continue reading

  • Among hundreds of men, trailblazing NASA Engineer JoAnn Morgan was the sole woman present in the locked control room.

    A famous photo shows the control room at Kennedy Space Center on the day of the historic Apollo 11 launch packed with hundreds of men in white shirts and skinny black ties — and, among them, a single woman sits at a console. As Apollo 11 began its flight to the moon on July 16, 1969, 28-year-old instrumentation controller JoAnn Hardin Morgan became the first woman ever permitted in the launch firing room, which is locked down in advance of a space flight. Morgan, who was the first female engineer at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, would go on to have a 40-year-long career at NASA. While she encountered challenges along the way, including being "the only woman there for a long time" and spending the first 15 years working "in a building were there wasn't a ladies rest room," Morgan says that "I had such a passion that overrode anything else, the lonely moments, the little bits of negative. They were like a mosquito bite. You just swat it and push on." Continue reading Continue reading

  • "I find that I am bored with anything I understand," says Abel Prize winner Dr. Karen Uhlenbeck.

    American mathematician Karen Uhlenbeck has become the first woman to win the Abel Prize — the "Nobel Prize" of mathematics! The 76-year-old professor emeritus of the University of Texas at Austin and visiting scholar at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton has made wide-ranging advances in mathematics that influence many sciences, including quantum physics and string theory, and pioneered a new field of mathematics called geometric analysis. "She did things nobody thought about doing, and after she did, she laid the foundations of a branch of mathematics," says Sun-Yung Alice Chang, a Princeton mathematician who sat on the prize committee. Hans Munthe-Kaas, chair of the Abel Committee, added that "her perspective has pervaded the field and led to some of the most dramatic advances in mathematics over the last 40 years." Continue reading Continue reading

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