NASA Honors American Hero & Hidden Figure Katherine Johnson With The Dedication Of A New Research Facility
To say this honor was well deserved is an understatement.
Katherine Johnson is an American hero and math genius. However, most people didn't know that until last year with the release of the Oscar-nominated film Hidden Figures.
Like what you're reading?
Get more in your inbox.
A hidden figure throughout history indeed, Johnson, along with Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson, were black women who despite the segregation of the 1960s, were able to push forward some of the country’s greatest aerospace advancements.
Now, the 99-year-old is finally being given her flowers with a new research facility from NASA that is named in her honor. Ribbons were cut Friday for the unveiling of the Katherine G. Johnson Computational Research Facility. The building is a state-of-the-art facility run by NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. The building, which cost $23 million, will consolidate four of the organization’s data centers as a part of Langley’s 20-year revitalization plan.
Johnson was deemed a "human computer" with her ability to calculate life and death analytical geometry equations. Her gift helped calculate coordinates for the very first human spaceflight as well as leading her to become the first woman in the organization to receive authorial credit on a research paper. The first astronaut to orbit the earth, John Glenn, personally asked that Johnson check the mission landing calculations before his launch into space, trusting her calculations more than the new computers.
Now after all that she has done for this country, our people, and women in STEM, NASA is proud to honor her brilliance and courage.
“We’re here to honor the legacy of one of the most admired and inspirational people ever associated with NASA,” Langley Director David Bowles said in a press release. “I can’t imagine a better tribute to Mrs. Johnson’s character and accomplishments than this building that will bear her name.”
After all that Katherine Johnson has contributed to science and society, when asked her feelings about the dedication, her answer was as humble as it was simple.
“You want my honest answer?" Johnson said with a laugh. "I think they’re crazy.”
You can check out the ribbon cutting ceremony below.