How to Befriend a Butterfly 06/08/20
Katherine Johnson: A Life Story
It’s 20 July 1969. More than a fifth of the entire population of the world is gathered around a TV set watching grainy black-and-white pictures of the first humans setting foot on the moon.
Most of us know this story but how did the idea of space travel become a reality? How did the engineers work out how fast to fly, what trajectory to take, how to land on the moon and, perhaps most important of all, how to get safely home again?
This life story of a remarkable mathematician has at least some of the answers. And Katherine Johnson wasn’t just a brilliant academic, she was also black and female, which makes her achievements all the more impressive.
Born in the USA, at a time when racial segregation was considered perfectly acceptable and women were often treated as intellectually inferior, Katherine had to fight for every bit of recognition she got. But hers was a discreet battle and one in which she relied on her talent and hard work to get to the top.
This accessible, compelling and inspiring biography is a must for anyone interested in space, science, mathematics, social history or human rights.