Farewell to Mathematician Katherine Johnson, Crucial “Hidden Figure” at NASA in the ’60s Space Race

From her time as a childhood math prodigy in West Virginia to her crucial role as a “computer” at NASA, where her calculations helped lead astronauts into orbit and then the moon, black mathematician Katherine Johnson was a pioneering figure in spaceflight. Johnson’s work was critical to NASA’s earlier successes—especially during the space race—but they wouldn’t get mainstream recognition until President Barack Obama awarded her …