female mathematician

Meet the real women behind Hidden Figures.

In the early days of the Space Race, Dorothy Vaughan headed the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics’ (NACA) West Area Computing unit. It was an important but segregated unit of mostly female mathematicians doing aerospace calculations by hand. When NACA became NASA in 1958, the Analysis and Computation Division desegregated and Vaughan became a sought-after expert on FORTRAN  – a programming language used on IBM mainframes.

Vaughan is one of the women whose work inspired the film Hidden Figures — a true story of three African American mathematicians who helped NASA launch the first Americans into space.

Feeling inspired? See how coding might figure into your life. Uncover more about Dorothy Vaughan →

This Week @ NASA

Astronauts conduct a spacewalk on the International Space Station to prepare it for future activities. Peggy Whitson became the new women’s record holder for number of spacewalks and more!

International Space Station

Work continued aboard the International Space Station. Spacewalkers Shane Kimbrough and Peggy Whitson used the station’s robotic arm to move the Pressurized Mating Adapter-3 on March 24 to move a module to accommodate U.S. commercial spacecraft carrying astronauts on future missions. They continued this work on March 30. Another spacewalk to complete the work is slated for April.

James Webb Space Telescope

Engineers at our Goddard Space Flight Center Center complete vibration and acoustic tesing on the James Webb Space Telescope, which was subjected to earsplitting noice and shaken 50-100 times per second to simulate the rigors of launch.


Data from our MAVEN, our Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN, and published in the journal Science, concludes that solar wind and radiation are responsible for stripping Mars of its atmosphere and turning it into the frigid desert world it is today.

Most of the gas ever in the Red Planet’s atmosphere has been lost to space. The MAVEN team focused on the gas argon, estimating that 65% of it has been stripped from the planet. In 2015, the science team determined that atmospheric gas continues to be lost to space.

STEM Education

We participated in a Women’s History Month celebration and the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. The program feature NASA astronauts and engineers. The were also projects to get girls interested in sciene, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, education. There was also a screening of the film ‘Hidden Figures,’ which relates the story of African-American female mathematicians who were instrumental in the agency’s efforts to launch humans to space.

NASA App on Fire TV

We’ve released our latest free NASA app on a whole new platform–Amazon Fire TV! The app is already available for Apple TV, iOS, and Android.Viewers can stream NASA TV, access 16,000+, download video and more!

Download the app: www.nasa.gov/nasaapp

What the full episode of This Week @ NASA:

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space: http://nasa.tumblr.com

Cleopatra came of age in a country that entertained a singular definition of women’s roles. Well before her and centuries before the arrival of the Ptolemies, Egyptian women enjoyed the right to make their own marriages. Over time their liberties had increased, to levels unprecedented in the ancient world.

They inherited equally and held property independently. Married women did not submit to their husbands’ control. They enjoyed the right to divorce and to be supported after a divorce. Until the time an ex-wife's dowry was returned, she was entitled to be lodged in the house of her choice. Her property remained hers; it was not to be squandered by a wastrel husband. The law sided with the wife and children if a husband acted against their interests.

Rome marveled that in Egypt female children were not left to die; a Roman was obligated to raise only his first-born daughter. Egyptian women married later than did their neighbors as well, only about half of them by Cleopatra’s age [21].

They loaned money and operated barges. They served as priests in the native temples. They initiated lawsuits and hired flute players. As wives, widows, or divorcees, they owned vineyards, wineries, papyrus marshes, ships, perfume businesses, milling equipment, slaves, homes, camels. As much as one third of Ptolemaic Egypt may have been in female hands…

Alexandria had its share of female mathematicians, doctors, painters, and poets. As always, an educated woman was a dangerous woman. But she was less a source of discomfort in Egypt than elsewhere.

—  Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff
Top 5 Mind Opening Astronomy Books You Must Read Before You Die

Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race By Margot Lee Shetterly

The phenomenal true story of the black female mathematicians at NASA whose calculations helped fuel some of America’s greatest achievements in space. Soon to be a major motion picture starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monae, Kirsten Dunst, and Kevin Costner.

Learn More >>>

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry By Neil deGrasse Tyson

What is the nature of space and time? How do we fit within the universe? How does the universe fit within us? There’s no better guide through these mind-expanding questions than acclaimed astrophysicist and best-selling author Neil deGrasse Tyson. 

Learn More >>>

A Brief History of Time By Stephen Hawking

A landmark volume in science writing by one of the great minds of our time, Stephen Hawking’s book explores such profound questions as: How did the universe begin—and what made its start possible? Does time always flow forward? Is the universe unending—or are there boundaries? Are there other dimensions in space? What will happen when it all ends?

Told in language we all can understand, A Brief History of Time plunges into the exotic realms of black holes and quarks, of antimatter and “arrows of time,” of the big bang and a bigger God—where the possibilities are wondrous and unexpected. With exciting images and profound imagination, Stephen Hawking brings us closer to the ultimate secrets at the very heart of creation.

Learn More > > >

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So I got curious what this film ‘Hidden Figures’ was about, and on IMDB found references to the many outright lies contained within it, one of which pointed me to the Wikipedia entry, which goes into just how unfounded the historical inaccuracies being flogged in the movie actually are:

“The film, set at NASA in 1961, depicts segregated facilities such as the West Area Computing unit, an all-black group of female mathematicians, who were originally required to use separate dining and bathroom facilities. However, in reality, Dorothy Vaughan was promoted to supervisor of West Computing in 1949, becoming the first black supervisor at the NACA and one of the few female supervisors.

In 1958, when the NACA made the transition to NASA, segregated facilities, including the West Computing office, were abolished. Dorothy Vaughan and many of the former West Computers transferred to the new Analysis and Computation Division (ACD), a racially and gender-integrated group.

“Mary Jackson completed her engineering courses and earned a promotion to engineer in 1958, becoming NASA’s first black female engineer. Katherine Johnson was assigned to the Flight Research Division in 1953, a move that soon became permanent. When the Space Task Group was formed in 1958, engineers from the Flight Research Division formed the core of the Group and Katherine moved along with them. She coauthored a research report in 1960, the first time a woman in the Flight Research Division had received credit as an author of a research report.

“In an interview with WHRO-TV, Katherine Johnson played down the feeling of segregation. ‘I didn’t feel the segregation at NASA, because everybody there was doing research. You had a mission and you worked on it, and it was important to you to do your job…and play bridge at lunch. I didn’t feel any segregation.’“

These are all real people, living real lives, full of real, documented events: Why would you want to tell the story of women you presumably admire and then lie about them to this degree? Who benefits from doing so? How does telling a false narrative about the past honor the achievements of those women, or, for that matter, help anyone today?

Future filmmakers, I’ll help you out: it doesn’t at all. Not one little bit.

A movie about three black female mathematicians is beating Affleck and Scorsese at the box office
"Hidden Figures,” set during the height of NASA's space race, dominated the box office for the second weekend in a row.
By https://www.facebook.com/elahei

Hidden Figures” topped the box office for the second weekend in a row. The movie is on track to earn more than $25 million at the box office from just the holiday weekend, after garnering nearly $23 million the weekend before.

The success of “Hidden Figures” comes as debates over racial diversity and gender pay equity dominate Hollywood. And its stars have pointed to the film as proof that movies helmed by black women are not inherent commercial risks.

“I have been told my entire career ‘Black women can’t open films domestically or internationally.’ Well anything is possible,” star Taraji P. Henson wrote on Instagram after the movie’s opening weekend, when it took the No. 1 spot at the box office. “Most importantly this proves that PEOPLE LIKE GOOD MATERIAL. HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH GENDER OR RACE. Agreed?!”’


With “Hidden Figures,” what audiences are saying is “give us more, we will go,” Silverstein said.

“It’s a feel-good movie, an upbeat movie, a movie about STEM that stars three black women: This is like the anathema to what we think most Hollywood is, which is these big tent-pole movies,” Silverstein said.


When such movies do well, it may cause decision-makers to rethink what it takes to appeal to a broad audience.

“This illuminates the need for diversity and inclusive storytelling all year long,” Silverstein said. “There is a market for these [films], and if the movie’s good, it will sell.”


“Agora (Spanish: Ágora) is a 2009 Spanish English-language historical drama film directed by Alejandro Amenábar and written by Amenábar and Mateo Gil. The biopic stars Rachel Weisz as Hypatia, a female mathematician, philosopher and astronomer in late 4th-century Roman Egypt, who investigates the flaws of the geocentric Ptolemaic system and the heliocentric model that challenges it. Surrounded by religious turmoil and social unrest, Hypatia struggles to save the knowledge of classical antiquity from destruction. Max Minghella co-stars as Davus, Hypatia’s father’s slave, and Oscar Isaac as Hypatia’s student, and later prefect of Alexandria, Orestes.”


Badass History Ladies - Hypatia of Alexandria

“Reserve your right to think, for even to think wrongly is better than not to think at all.”

Said to have been the last librarian of the Library of Alexandria, Hypatia is the first recorded female mathematician. She edited works of science and math, and invented the hydrometer (a device which helps measure the gravity and density of liquids).

There are two accounts of her death. The first, and most widely accepted, was written soon after her dead in 415 CE. According to the historian, Hypatia was murdered by a Christian mob for her political influence and heresy.

Helena (248-329) - Roman Empress; instrumental in the conversion of her son Constantine and the Romans to Christianity; revered as one of the most important women in the history of Western Civilization.

Pulcheria (399-453) - Roman Empress; a major force in Roman politics and ecclesiastical history.

Clotilde (475-545) - Queen of the Franks; instrumental in the conversion of her husband Clovis and the Franks to Christianity.

Theodora (500-548) - Byzantine Empress; one of the most influential and powerful empresses of Byzantium.

Olga of Kiev (890-969) - Princess and Regent of Kievan Rus’; instrumental in the conversion of her grandson Vladimir the Great and Old Rus’ to Christianity.

Margaret of Scotland (1045-1093) - Queen of Scotland; founded churches, monasteries, hostels and towns; called “The Pearl of Scotland”.

Matilda of Canossa (1046-1115) - Imperial Vicar and Queen of Italy; countess, duchess, and marquise; noted for her military accomplishments; called the “Honor and Glory of Italy”.

Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179) - German nun, writer, composer, philosopher, mystic, visionary, and polymath; mother of German botany; founder of scientific natural history in Germany.

Maud of England (1102-1167) - Holy Roman Empress, Queen of Germany and Italy; called the “She-Wolf of England”.

Eleanor of Aquitaine (1122-1204) - Queen of France and England, Duchess of Aquitaine; the most powerful woman in western Europe during the High Middle Ages.

Clare of Assisi (1194-1253) - Italian nun and founder of the Poor Clares; first woman to write a monastic rule.

Trota of Salerno (12th century) - Italian physician and medical writer; wrote the Trotula texts on women’s medicine.

Gertrude the Great (1256-1302) - German nun and mystic; the only female saint to be called “the Great”.

Isabella of France (1295-1358) - Queen of England; called the “She-Wolf of France”.

Joanna of Flanders (1295-1374) - Duchess of Brittany; noted for her military accomplishments.

Bridget of Sweden (1303-1373) - Swedish nun and mystic; one of the most popular saints in history.

Alessandra Giliani (1307-1326) - Italian anatomist and prosector; first woman to practice pathology.

Elizabeth of Bosnia ( 1339-1387) - Queen of Hungary and Poland; one of the most powerful monarchs of her time.

Julian of Norwich (1342-1416) - English anchoress and mystic; first woman to write a book in the English language.

Catherine of Siena (1347-1380) - Italian nun, mystic, writer, and patron saint of Europe; one of the most influential women of the 14th century.

Christine de Pisan (1364-1430) - Italian poet, essayist and biographer; court writer for the Royal court in France; wrote 41 works.

Margery Kempe (1373-1438) - English mystic and writer; wrote the first autobiography in the English language.

Jadwiga of Poland (1373-1399) - Queen of Poland and Grand Duchess of Lithuania; first female monarch of Poland; instrumental in the conversion of Lithuania to Christianity and the union of Poland and Lithuania.

Joan of Arc (1412-1431) - French heroine and national symbol of France; defended France during the Hundred Years’ War.

Margaret of Anjou (1430-1482) - Queen of England; personally led the Lancastrians during the Wars of the Roses.

Isabella I of Castile (1451-1504) - Queen of Castile, Leon, Aragon and Sicily; completed the Reconquista of Spain and financed Christopher Columbus.

Caterina Sforza (1463-1509) - Countess of Forlì and Lady of Imola; noted for her military accomplishments; called the “Tigress of Forlì”.

Isabella d'Este (1474-1539) - Marchesa of Mantua; one of the leading women of the Renaissance; called “The First Lady of the world”.

Catherine of Aragon (1485-1536) - Queen of England and Princess of Wales; instrumental in the English victory at the Battle of Flodden.

Teresa of Avila (1515-1582) - Spanish nun, mystic and writer; one of the most popular saints in history.

Catherine de’ Medici (1519-1589) - Queen of France and Duchess of Brittany; patron of the arts; the most powerful woman in 16th century Europe.

Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots (1542-1587) - Queen of Scotland and France; one of the most famous figures in Scottish and English history.

Artemisia Gentileschi (1593-1653) - Italian Baroque painter and first woman accepted into the Florentine Academy of Fine Arts.

Elena Cornaro Piscopia (1646-1684) - Italian mathematician and first woman to receive a doctoral degree from a university.

Laura Bassi (1711-1778) - Italian scientist and first woman professor to be appointed at a European university; called the “Walking Polyglot”.

Maria Gaetana Agnesi (1718-1799) - Italian mathematician and philosopher; first woman to write a mathematics textbook; first woman appointed as a Mathematics Professor at a University.

Woman Mathematician part K

Sofia Vasilyevna Kovalevskaya – was the first major Russian female mathematician, responsible for important original contributions to analysis, differential equations and mechanics, and the first woman appointed to a full professorship in Northern Europe. She was also one of the first women to work for a scientific journal as an editor.

Connection Chap Eleven

Originally posted by zombiqueen1967

Originally posted by notmydate

Connection.  Read Chap One here. Chap Two. Chap Three. Chap Four. Chap Five. Chap Six.Chap Seven. Chap Eight. Chap Nine. Chap Ten.

Sherlock x reader

Summary: an American forensic psychologist hired by Mycroft Holmes. You thought it would be more interesting and fulfilling than your previous job with a law firm in London but you had no idea how much it would change your life. Or really, how much one person would change everything.

Word count:4132

Some lines borrowed from The empty hearse in BOLD.

A/N: Since there’s never been a first name given for Mrs. Holmes, I’ve named her after a famous English Female mathematician. It seemed appropriate. :)

You overheard Mrs. Holmes from the bedroom as you dressed and Will stared inside his drawer with his hand curled around his chin. After another fifteen minutes of coaxing Will to choose instead of falling into a meltdown, you walked into the kitchen and bit your lip to avoid laughing at the look on Sherlock’s face.

“Granma! Granpa!” Will shouted as he rushed through the kitchen and  over to the couch.

“Poppet!” Mrs. Holmes grabbed him up and covered his face with kisses. Will’s giggles filled the room and you looked at Sherlock watching the emotions play across his face then the corner of his mouth lifted.

“Someone missed their grandma.” You smiled as you walked into the room toward the couch where Mr. and Mrs. Holmes were fawning over Will. Mr. Holmes pulled a small toy from his pocket and Will’s eyes grew large, joy and excitement taking over his small form.

You felt Sherlock’s gaze and turned your head to look over your shoulder. You never liked to pry by reading someone when it wasn’t called for but you couldn’t help it with Sherlock. The question was clear on his face but his eyes were revealing something confusing. Before you could really figure it out, Mrs. Holmes’s voice broke your concentration.

“I’m so sorry, dear.” You turned back to her, your brow furrowed. Will was in his grandfather’s lap playing with his new toy and she was pleading with you.

“For what?” You asked. Sherlock cleared his throat and stood as his mother continued to implore you with a sincere apology on her face. You shook your head with a smile, “no. Please don’t. Everyone did what they had to do. And you,” you walked over to the two people who gave you and your son the most and knelt in front of them.

Keep reading

Mary Cartwright (1900-1998) was a British mathematician who was the first to analyse a dynamical system with chaos. She was the first woman to obtain a first-class degree in Mathematics from the University of Oxford.

She also obtained her PhD in Oxford, and went on to work as a researcher in Cambridge. In 1930 she began work on the theorem that now bear her name (Cartwright’s theorem). She was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1947, the first female mathematician to be offered this honour.

Woman Mathematician part C

Dame Mary Lucy Cartwright –  With J. E. Littlewood she was the first to analyze a dynamical system with chaos. She also simplified Hermite’s elementary proof of the irrationality of π.

In 1947, she was elected to be a Fellow of the Royal Society and, although she was not the first woman to be elected to that Society, she was the first female mathematician.

How three black women helped send John Glenn into orbit
A new film, Hidden Figures, tells the story of the maths wizards who Nasa relied on
By Edward Helmore

When John Glenn was waiting to be fired into orbit aboard Friendship 7 in 1962, there was one person he trusted with the complex trajectory calculations required to bring him down safely from his orbital spaceflight: Katherine Johnson, an African-American mathematician who worked in Nasa’s segregated west area computers division.

“Get the girl, check the numbers,” Glenn said before boarding the rocket. “If she says they’re good, I’m good to go.”

Johnson was one of three female African-American mathematicians known as the “computers in skirts” who worked on the Redstone, Mercury and Apollo space programmes for Nasa. Now, thanks to an award-tipped movie, Johnson, Mary Jackson and Dorothy Vaughan are about to become more widely celebrated.

The film, Hidden Figures, stars Taraji P Henson of TV series Empire, soul singer and actress Janelle Monáe, Octavia Spencer from The Help movie, and Academy Award winner Kevin Costner.

Continue Reading.

Today’s Google Doodle is STEM goddess (engineer / mathematician / physicist / inventor) Hertha Ayton!


“Phoebe Sarah Hertha Ayrton (28 April 1854 – 23 August 1923), was a British engineer,mathematician, physicist, and inventor. Known in adult life as Hertha Ayrton, née Phoebe Sarah Marks, she was awarded the Hughes Medal by the Royal Society for her work on electric arcs and ripples in sand and water.

Ayrton helped found the International Federation of University Women in 1919 and the National Union of Scientific Workers in 1920.”


I need my space (movies)

Many sci-fi and space-related movies are coming out this and next year. Here are some which trailers I’ve come by.

Showing this year:

Stars: Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Stars: Felicity Jones, Mads Mikkelsen, Donnie Yen

The Space Between Us
Stars: Janet Montgomery, Britt Robertson, Asa Butterfield

Stars: Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Pratt, Michael Sheen


Hidden Figures
True story of the brilliant black female mathematicians Katherine Johnson, Mary Jackson and Dorothy Vaughan whose work was crucial to NASA in 1960s!
Stars: Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monáe

Stars: Rebecca Ferguson, Jake Gyllenhaal, Ryan Reynolds

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
Stars: Cara Delevingne, Ethan Hawke, John Goodman

And then there are Marvel movies as well. What would you add to this list?

How history forgot the black women behind Nasa’s space race
In the 1940s, a group of female scientists were the human computers behind the biggest advances in aeronautics. Hidden Figures, an upcoming book and film tells their remarkable, untold story
By Emine Saner

Growing up in Hampton, Virginia, Margot Lee Shetterly was surrounded by brilliant female scientists and mathematicians who, like her father, worked for Nasa. “I would see them in the context of community organisations or church, or you’d run into them at the grocery store – they were my parents’ friends,” she says. It didn’t seem unusual to her that, within her community, so many women had enjoyed long careers at Langley, Nasa’s research centre – and so many of them were black women. It was her husband, on a trip back to visit Lee Shetterly’s parents, who pointed out how remarkable it was.

In 1940, she points out in her book, Hidden Figures, just 2% of black women got a university degree and more than half became teachers. But a few defied all expectations and obstacles and joined Naca (the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, which would become Nasa). Their work underpinned some of the biggest advances in aeronautics, during some of the most defining moments of the 20th century – the second world war, the cold war, the space race, the civil rights movement, and the adoption of electronic computing.

While some of this generation of female black scientists were recognised – in 2015, Katherine Johnson was awarded the US’s highest civilian honour, the Presidential medal of freedom for her work, which included calculations that helped the moon landing – the fact that there was a crack team of all-female, all-black maths whizzes is largely unknown. “For a long time, African Americans were not allowed to read and write,” says Lee Shetterly. “We forget but it was not that long ago. Women were barred from studying at many colleges. If you are not able to read and write, then you are not going to be able to tell your own story. There haven’t been critical masses of women, minorities, whatever, and I think that’s something that is changing now.”

Lee Shetterly’s book, and the story of how a group of African American women – transcending racism and sexism to embark on some of the most important scientific work in the world at the time – has been turned into a film, starring Octavia Spencer, Taraji P Henson and Janelle Monae. Henson plays the brilliant mathematician Johnson. It was the real Johnson, now in her nineties and whom Lee Shetterly knew, who first told her about Dorothy Vaughan (played by Spencer).

Continue Reading.