Counting on Katherine with Helaine Becker

June 23

Counting on Katherine

From shuttle design to launch windows to space rendezvous, math is everywhere in space flight. Without it, astronauts would never get off the ground or back to earth.

In the early days of spaceflight, if NASA needed to plot a rocket’s path or confirm a computer’s calculations, they knew who to ask: American research mathematician Katherine Johnson.

Renowned for her ability to perform complex manual calculations, Katherine worked at NASA as one of its “human computers” for 33 years. She helped calculate the missions that sent the first Americans into space, then into orbit and finally to the Moon. Conducting work that computers do today, Katherine was invaluable to the space program.

But how does one become a trailblazing mathematician? By counting, of course! When Katherine was little, she counted everything – from the number of steps she took to get to the road to the number of forks and plates she washed when doing the dishes.

Award-winning children’s author Helaine Becker spoke with Katherine and her family in order to write Counting on Katherine, a biographical picture book which depicts a real little girl who didn’t let anything get in the way of pursuing her dream.

Through an engaging and interactive presentation, learn more about Katherine’s extraordinary life – from her early beginnings as a gifted student to her heroic accomplishments as a prominent mathematician at NASA – and be inspired to follow your passion.

Counting on Katherine (hardcover) available for purchase and signing. Member discounts apply.

12:30 p.m.
Hot Zone, Level 6

2 & 3 p.m.
Planetarium, Space Hall, Level 4

Limited seating. First come, first served.



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