Katherine Gobel Johnson, sometimes called a “human super computer,” was born on August 26, 1918 in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, to Joylette and Joshua Coleman. She was the youngest of four children. Her mother was a teacher, and her father was a lumberman, farmer, and handyman, who also worked at a hotel called the Greenbrier.
Mrs. Johnson showed high mathematical abilities from an early age, thus graduating from high school at age 14. She was a graduate of West Virginia State College, a predominantly Black college, and she graduated summa cum laude in 1937 with degrees in mathematics and French.
Mrs. Johnson decided on a career as a research mathematician, and in 1953 she was offered a job at Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory, based in Hampton. In 1958 she worked at NASA as a human computer, analyzing topics such as gust alleviation for aircraft. From 1958 until her retirement in 1986, she worked at NASA as an aerospace technolog...
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