You most likely cannot read even one of the 26 NASA Technical Papers co-authored by American physicist Katherine G. Johnson who was recently awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama. See a summary that includes only some of her NASA technical papers HERE.

Of course you can read but not these kinds of mathematical formulas and even more amazing for Mrs. Johnson, most people cannot perform the mathematical calculations needed to solve these complex equations. Many involve the mathematical process called “iteration” which means solving them over and over and over again as they are changed each time very slightly so that after many thousands of calculations the answer is revealed. She did it before computers were available and then used computers to solve them so the astronauts could fly and return from orbit.
Consider that a rocket is fired that inserts a space capsule into orbit around an earth that is revolving around an axis which is also revolving around the sun in an orbit that is elliptical with variations called perturbations. Then the rockets on the orbiter have to be fired so the capsule re-enters the atmosphere and lands close enough to a ship in the ocean so the astronaut can be put safely on board the ship.

In addition, Johnson was known for accuracy in computerized celestial navigation, she conducted technical work at NASA that spanned decades. During this time, she calculated the trajectories, launch windows, and emergency back-up return paths for many flights from Project Mercury, including the early NASA missions of John Glenn and Alan Shepard, and the 1969 Apollo 11 flight to the Moon, through the Space Shuttle program. Her calculations were critical to the success of these missions. Johnson also did calculations for plans for a mission to Mars.

In 2016, Johnson was included in the list of “BBC 100 Women,” BBC’s list of 100 influential women worldwide.

NASA stated, “Her calculations proved as critical to the success of the Apollo Moon landing program and the start of the Space Shuttle program, as they did to those first steps on the country’s journey into space.”
That’s some of what Katherine G. Johnson did.

Katherine was a whiz in grade school so the teachers skipped her thru and she graduated high school at age 14, college at 18. She went to work for NASA for 33 years and said she went to work every day happy. Good for Katherine.

Katherine is a great American who is very deserving of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Unfortunately, on the same basis many other people were and are far more qualified and deserving than the three Hidden Figures selected by race obsessed President Obama. He’s inflamed the race based biases of millions which will not help either side and may even damage them.