Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race

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In the 1940s, a group of female scientists were the human computers behind the biggest advances in aeronautics. The fact that there was team of all-black female maths whizzes who worked on calculations to put men into space is largely unknown. But, thanks to Author Margot Lee Shetterly, Hidden Figures unfolds the untold story of the black women mathematicians who worked at NASA and helped put the first man on the moon.

Growing up in Hampton, Virginia, Margot Lee Shetterly recalls being surrounded by brilliant female scientists and mathematicians who, like her father, worked for Nasa. In 1940, she points out in her book, Hidden Figures, just 2% of black women got a university degree and more than half became teachers. But a few defied all expectations and obstacles and joined Naca (the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, which would become Nasa). Their work underpinned some of the biggest advances in aeronautics, during some of the most defining moments of the 20th century – the second world war, the cold war, the space race, the civil rights movement, and the adoption of electronic computing. Read more of this story…

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