The Forgotten Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Send Astronauts to Space

Title

The Forgotten Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Send Astronauts to Space

Description

A new book "Hidden Figures" documents the lives and accomplishments of NASA’s black “human computers” whose work was at the heart of the country’s greatest battles and this is an article on Smithsonian.com about it.

"As America stood on the brink of a Second World War, the push for aeronautical advancement grew ever greater, spurring an insatiable demand for mathematicians. Women were the solution. Ushered into the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory in 1935 to shoulder the burden of number crunching, they acted as human computers, freeing the engineers of hand calculations in the decades before the digital age. Sharp and successful, the female population at Langley skyrocketed.

Many of these “computers” are finally getting their due, but conspicuously missing from this story of female achievement are the efforts contributed by courageous, African-American women. Called the West Computers, after the area to which they were relegated, they helped blaze a trail for mathematicians and engineers of all races and genders to follow." 

Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/forgotten-black-women-mathematicians-who-helped-win-wars-and-send-astronauts-space-180960393/


Creator

Maya Wei-Haas

Date

September 8, 2016

Type

Text

Coverage

United States

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Citation

Maya Wei-Haas, “The Forgotten Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Send Astronauts to Space
,” Anti-Racism Digital Library, accessed November 22, 2017, http://sacred.omeka.net/items/show/170.