Black History Month - Hidden Figures: Dorothy VaughanPosted on: 23/10/2019
Our final 'Hidden Figure' for this year's Black History Month is Dorothy Johnson Vaughan who lived from 1910 to 2008.
Vaughan was an African American mathematician who worked for the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) and NASA, at Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia.
In 1949 she became acting supervisor of the West Area Computers, making her the first African-American woman to supervise a group of staff at the centre.
Vaughan was later promoted officially to the position. During her 28-year career, Vaughan prepared for the introduction of machine computers in the early 1960s by teaching herself and her staff the programming language of FORTRAN; she later headed the programming section of the Analysis and Computation Division (ACD) at Langley.
Vaughan is one of the three remarkable women featured in Margot Lee Shetterly's Hidden Figures: The Story of the African-American Women Who Helped Win the Space Race (2016). It was adapted as a biographical film of the same name, also released in 2016.
Dr Gohar Khan
Director of Ethos