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NASA Technologist Katherine Johnson, the Hidden Figures Mathematician, Dies at 101

The IEEE President’s Award recipient helped the agency plot its course to space

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Photo of Katherine Johnson
Photo: NASA

THE INSTITUTE Katherine G. Johnson, one of the women featured in the 2016 Oscar-nominated film Hidden Figures, died today at age 101. Her mathematical calculations of orbital mechanics at NASA were critical to the success of Friendship 7 and several other U.S. human spaceflights. She was instrumental in getting astronaut John Glenn into space.

IEEE recognized her contributions last year with its President’s Award, “for fundamental computational contributions to the success of American’s first and subsequent manned spaceflights, including Apollo 11.”

For more about her fascinating life and the struggles she overcame, read our article, “Katherine Johnson, the Hidden Figures Mathematician Who Got Astronaut John Glenn Into Space.”

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