In the News
Katherine Johnson, Hidden Figures inspo and mathematician for NASA, dies at 101
“Girls are capable of doing everything men are capable of doing," former NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson said. "Sometimes they have more imagination than men.”
It was these words, as well as Katherine's actions, that inspired young women around the world. Katherine passed away at the age of 101 on Monday, Feb. 24, marking a sad day in history for the scientific community.
Tonight, count the stars and remember a trailblazer. ✨— NASA (@NASA) February 25, 2020
A figure hidden no more, Katherine Johnson helped lead us into a new era in space exploration, and for that we are forever grateful. Join us in reflecting on her powerful legacy. https://t.co/oNW4tnOu0T
NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine initially announced Katherine's death on Twitter, followed by a series of tributes tweeted (and retweeted) by the official NASA account.
Katherine's legacy will not be forgotten. As portrayed in the film Hidden Figures by Taraji P. Henson, Katherine faced immense racism and sexism as one of the first African American women hired in computing at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics - now called NASA.
But Katherine did not let adversity hold her back. She computed the trajectory for the mission of the first man in space - entirely by hand - as well as playing in a role in the computation of the first moon landing.
In 2015, Katherine received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama.
"In her 33 years at NASA, Katherine was a pioneer who broke the barriers of race and gender, showing generations of young people that everyone can excel in math and science, and reach for the stars," the former president said at a White House ceremony in 2015.
Taraji took to Instagram to post about the news, calling Katherine a "queen" along with the hashtag #HiddenNoMore.
Thank you QUEEN #KatherineJohnson for sharing your intelligence, poise, grace and beauty with the world! Because of your hard work little girls EVERYWHERE can dream as big as the MOON!!! Your legacy will live on FORVER AND EVER!!! You ran so we could fly!!! I will forever be honored to have been apart of bringing your story to life. You/your story was hidden and thank GOD you are #hiddennomore🚀 God bless your beautiful family. I am so honored to have sat and broke bread with you all. My thoughts and prayers are with you! #RIHKatherineJohnson #representationmatters 🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾💋💋💋
A trailblazer for women of color in STEM fields, Katherine is and will forever be an icon for young women and, particularly, women of color. In a ripple effect that travels far beyond the scientific community, she will be missed.
Watch NASA's tribute video for Katherine below:
“It’s people like her…who paved the way for people like me to become astronauts.”— NASA (@NASA) February 24, 2020
One of our @NASA_Astronauts, Jeanette Epps, and others reflect on what Katherine Johnson’s legacy mean to them. Watch: https://t.co/HeRN9ZsXaG pic.twitter.com/XUR4EHh0Zz