Before modern technology appeared, there were great minds that did the work of a computer. These prodigious minds were so efficient that they could be consider as “human computers”. Even, the velocity of these artifacts could not compete with the effectiveness of the human brain. Proof of this is that the astronaut John Glen trusted Katherine Johnson, a black female scientist, to verify if the data of the computer was correct. She had to calculate the flight paths of the NASA rockets manually. Glen entrusted his life in the hands of Johnson. He treated her with the respect she deserved.
The world took a step forward when man reached the moon, but we stepped back 20 steps when those who made this scientific advance possible, were not given the recognition they deserved.
Much more could have been done if other souls thirsting for knowledge would had been inspired and encouragement to make the human being grow. It is then demonstrated that segregation only brings backwardness. Inclusion is progress.
It is difficult to understand and accept that, although Katherine Johnson's work was of great importance to humanity, it was not known until after 50 years. The name of this scientist should have appeared in the history books alongside the prodigious minds that transformed the world. However, it was not until 2016 that the movie “Hidden Figures” was released, that the world knew about her. It was based on the story of Katherine and other mathematicians such as Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson and other scientists who also worked at NASA. In the same year Katherine was awarded with Presidential Medal of Freedom, by President Obama.
Katherine was born in Virginia in 1918 and was a child prodigy who loved math. Before working at NASA, she worked as a teacher for 10 years. Despite the misogyny and segregation of the time, in which Katherine developed in her youth, it is to applaud her effort and that of those who, despite the adversities, achieve their dream of working on what they were passionate about. Perseverance and positive attitude to adversity leads the human being to achieve their goals. It is necessary to avoid excuses when we want to accomplish our aspirations in life. No matter the moment, it does not matter if the world opposes or the difficulties that arise. Always the opportunities are there for those who want to take them. A rejection cannot take away the desire to make our dreams come true. Katherine suffered continuous rejection in her work, but her attitude and her love for what she did allowed her to achieve her goals. Not giving up is the answer to success. Strength and perseverance disarm any opposition to our plans and our attitude to life is what shaped our destiny.
Katherine passed away at the age of 101, on February 24, 2020.
"Find what your dream is and work at it, because if you like what you are doing, you will do well" – Katherine Johnson -