On Monday I attended a lecture, really more of a chat, with Katherine Moore, daughter of Katherine G. Johnson. Mrs Katherine G. Johnson is one of the three main characters in the book Hidden Figures, a story about a small but important part of the American space program,
I arrived early to find the auditorium at the Greensboro Historical Museum overflowing, I was lucky to get a seat.
Mrs. Moore’s mother still lives in Greensboro and is 99 years old. Mrs. Johnson, has been a center of attention with the success of the movie “Hidden Figures.” She has been consulted on making the movie and now the book Hidden Figures has been chosen in our One City – One Book program this year.
Katherine G. Johnson was a mathematician at Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory for NASA during the early days of the space race. Her work, and that of the other “computers” not only helped our astronauts get into space, but helped them return safely.
Katherine Moore, the compute’s daughter, told us some of the stories her mother has shared. During those stories, a few lines really popped out at me. Here they are:
Regarding the working relationship with others at Langley:
“The engineers could think, but they couldn’t do the math.”
Words of wisdom to her daughter:
“If you expect nothing, you’ll get nothing.”
On the drive to do the math correctly:
“I would do it right the first time because I didn’t want to to it again.”