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NASA's Hidden Computer Women


Courtesy of NASA
Courtesy of NASA

When NASA was formed in 1958, its prized pool of all-female "computers" desegregated. Until then, mathematicians of color -- including Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient Katherine Johnson -- worked, ate and used the restroom in a separate facilities. Cristen and Caroline shed overdue light on Johnson and her brilliant West Computer teammates who helped launch America into space.

Episode Sources:

"NASA's black women boffins get big-screen countdown" http://www.theguardian.com/film/2015/jul/14/nasa-black-women-hidden-figures-margot-lee-shetterly

"Margot Lee Shetterly: Hidden Figures" http://margotleeshetterly.com/hidden-figures-nasas-african-american-computers/

"African-American women worked as some of NASA's first computers" http://margotleeshetterly.com/hidden-figures-nasas-african-american-computers/

"Human computers" http://crgis.ndc.nasa.gov/historic/Human_Computers

"From computers to leaders: Women at NASA Langley" https://www.nasa.gov/larc/from-computers-to-leaders-women-at-nasa-langley/

"Human computers at NASA" http://omeka.macalester.edu/humancomputerproject/timeline

"West Area Computers: Trailblazers in American Space History" https://www.aip.org/sites/default/files/history/files/AIP-West-Area-Computers-Handout.pdf

"When the computer wore a skirt: Langley's computers, 1935-1970" http://women.nasa.gov/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Human-Super-Computers.pdf

"The black female mathematicians who sent astronauts to space" http://mentalfloss.com/article/71576/black-female-mathematicians-who-sent-astronauts-space

"Presidential Medal of Freedom honors a NASA 'computer'" http://www.sciencemag.org/careers/2015/12/presidential-medal-freedom-honors-nasa-computer

"Miriam Daniel Mann" https://omeka.macalester.edu/humancomputerproject/files/original/0db3d332862217399c0e4fc1af9ba55e.pdf

"Dorothy Vaughan" http://crgis.ndc.nasa.gov/crgis/images/2/29/VaughanBio.pdf

"Kathryn Peddrew" http://crgis.ndc.nasa.gov/crgis/images/d/d0/PeddrewBio.pdf

"Sue Edmondson Wilder" http://articles.dailypress.com/2009-02-02/news/0902020028_1_funeral-director-vestry-hampton-university-boosters-club

"Wednesday geek woman: Melba Roy Mouton" http://geekfeminism.org/2014/04/23/wednesday-geek-woman-melba-roy-mouton/

"Standing on the shoulders of a computer" http://www.nasa.gov/centers/langley/news/researchernews/rn_CDarden.html

"NASA and women of color: Recruitment, building a pipeline, and ensuring inclusion and diversity in the workforce" http://www.nap.edu/read/18556/chapter/37

Topics in this Podcast: women in the workplace, NASA, history, education, racism, women in stem


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