MIT Reads: Hidden figures


December 22, 2016

In February, MIT libraries is partnering with the Black Women’s Alliance to read Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly.

“Imagine the first scientists and engineers trying to send rockets—and eventually people—into space. With no electronic computers, they relied on an elite group of mathematicians capable of doing the most challenging calculations by hand, calculations that would launch men into space and forever expand our knowledge of the universe. Among these “human computers” were the black women whose genius for numbers made space exploration and travel possible. They’re finally introduced to America in Margot Lee Shetterly’s Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race. It’s no surprise that this story was adapted for film even before the book was finished. It’s the inspiring yet largely unknown true story of the African-American female mathematicians at NASA whose work that helped fuel some of America’s greatest achievements in space. Ironically, Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden were responsible for some of NASA’s greatest successes at a time when Jim Crow laws ensured NASA remained segregated.”

Community discussions will be held from February 2017 – details to follow. For more information on how to get the book, visit the MIT libraries website.

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