Friday, January 27, 2017


Currently in Kerrville TX (Low 35 Mostly Cloudy High 53)

We recently saw "Hidden Figures" which was based on a true story.

Every once in a while you see a movie that is one of the best you have seen. "Hidden Figures" was just such a movie for us. The acting and direction were superb but even better was the true story that was the basis for the movie.

"Hidden Figures" tells the story of African-American woman mathematicians that until now were largely left out of the history of the era. Based on a book of the same name by Margot Lee Shetterly that tells the story of Katherine Johnson, Mary Jackson and Dorothy Vaughan who are finally getting recognized for their contributions to our nascent space program in the early 1960s and beyond. These three were part of a pool of mathematicians that were "human computers" or "computers in skirts" that checked  calculations on paper without digital computers.

Before the digital computers were available Katherine Johnson calculated the trajectory for the first American in space Alan Shepard by hand. She also worked on the trajectory and reentry for John Glenn, the first American to orbit the earth. In fact there were some questions on the calculations for the reentry, “Get the girl, check the numbers,” Glenn said, referring to Johnson. “If she says they’re good, I’m good to go.”

Mary Jackson was a mathematician that had an engineers mind so she went to night school while still working and became the first African-American female engineer at NASA.

Dorothy Vaughan was the first African-American manager at NASA, male or female. Trained as a mathematician she taught herself computer programming and ended up as a manager.

We highly recommend this movie, it is as empowering and uplifting a movie as we have seen in a while.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

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