Katherine Johnson

African-American mathematician (1918-2020)

Katherine Coleman Goble Johnson (August 26, 1918 – February 24, 2020) was an African American physicist and mathematician. She finished schooling at a very early age. Katherine Johnson was 1 of the first 3 black people allowed to study at West Virginia University, which before that was officially racist and did not let black people be students.[1] She was known for her work on the United States' aeronautics and space programs where she worked with the early application of digital electronic computers at NASA.

Katherine Johnson
Katherine Johnson
Katherine Johnson in 2008
Katherine Coleman

(1918-08-26)August 26, 1918
DiedFebruary 24, 2020(2020-02-24) (aged 101)
Alma materWest Virginia State University,
West Virginia University
OccupationPhysicist, Mathematician
EmployerNACA, NASA
Known forCalculating the trajectories for many NASA missions

She was also known for accuracy in computerized celestial navigation. She made it possible for many space flights such as Project Mercury, including the early NASA missions of John Glenn and Alan Shepard, and the 1969 Apollo 11 flight to the Moon, through the Space Shuttle program to happen.[2][3] Her calculations were critical to the success of these missions.[2]

Johnson also did calculations for plans for a mission to Mars. Katherine Goble Johnson wrote 26 research reports. She was the first women to attend an editorial meeting at NASA.[4]

In 2015, Johnson received the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She was included in the BBC series 100 Women the next year.

Johnson died on February 24, 2020 at her home in Newport News, Virginia at the age of 101.[5]

Related pagesEdit


  1. Loff, Sarah (2016-11-22). "Katherine Johnson Biography". NASA. Retrieved 2018-03-13.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Smith, Yvette (November 24, 2015). "Katherine Johnson: The Girl Who Loved to Count". NASA. Retrieved February 12, 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. "Katherine G. Johnson Biography". Biography.com. October 10, 2016. Retrieved January 15, 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. "Google Docs - create and edit documents online, for free". docs.google.com. Retrieved 2018-03-13.
  5. Local hero, NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson dies at 101