Katherine Johnson

1918 - 2020

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Icon of person Katherine Johnson

Katherine Johnson (née Coleman; August 26, 1918 – February 24, 2020) was an American mathematician whose calculations of orbital mechanics as a NASA employee were critical to the success of the first and subsequent U.S. crewed spaceflights. During her 33-year career at NASA and its predecessor, she earned a reputation for mastering complex manual calculations and helped pioneer the use of computers to perform the tasks. The space agency noted her "historical role as one of the first African-American women to work as a NASA scientist".Johnson's work included calculating trajectories, launch windows, and emergency return paths for Project Mercury spaceflights, including those for astronauts Alan Shepard, the first American in space, and John Glenn, the first American in orbit, and rendezvous paths for the Apollo Lunar Module and command module on flights to the Moon. Read more on Wikipedia

Since 2007, the English Wikipedia page of Katherine Johnson has received more than 11,474,190 page views. Her biography is available in 49 different languages on Wikipedia (up from 48 in 2019). Katherine Johnson is the 72nd most popular mathematician (up from 79th in 2019), the 434th most popular biography from United States (down from 421st in 2019) and the 5th most popular Mathematician.

Katherine Johnson is most famous for being one of the three African-American women who helped NASA launch John Glenn into space in 1962.

Memorability Metrics

  • 11M

    Page Views (PV)

  • 67.59

    Historical Popularity Index (HPI)

  • 49

    Languages Editions (L)

  • 5.85

    Effective Languages (L*)

  • 4.06

    Coefficient of Variation (CV)

Page views of Katherine Johnsons by language


Among mathematicians, Katherine Johnson ranks 72 out of 823Before her are Hermann Minkowski, Jacob Bernoulli, Benoit Mandelbrot, Bhāskara II, Willebrord Snellius, and Zhang Heng. After her are Urbain Le Verrier, Giuseppe Peano, Andrey Kolmogorov, Richard Dedekind, Augustus De Morgan, and Regiomontanus.

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Among people born in 1918, Katherine Johnson ranks 18Before her are Helmut Schmidt, Leonard Bernstein, Kurt Waldheim, Frederick Sanger, Gertrude B. Elion, and Alberto Ascari. After her are Jørn Utzon, Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, William Holden, Billy Graham, Chaim Herzog, and Rosalia Lombardo. Among people deceased in 2020, Katherine Johnson ranks 12Before her are Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, Pierre Cardin, Olivia de Havilland, Max von Sydow, Qaboos bin Said al Said, and Javier Pérez de Cuéllar. After her are Krzysztof Penderecki, John le Carré, Ian Holm, Michel Piccoli, Albert Uderzo, and Alan Parker.

Others Born in 1918

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In United States

Among people born in United States, Katherine Johnson ranks 434 out of 18,182Before her are Frank Abagnale (1948), Willem Dafoe (1955), Kip Thorne (1940), Joe Frazier (1944), Jessica Lange (1949), and Viggo Mortensen (1958). After her are Kim Basinger (1953), Robert Zemeckis (1952), Babe Ruth (1895), Oliver Stone (1946), George Clooney (1961), and Stephen Hillenburg (1961).

Among MATHEMATICIANS In United States

Among mathematicians born in United States, Katherine Johnson ranks 5Before her are John Forbes Nash Jr. (1928), Charles Sanders Peirce (1839), Claude Shannon (1916), and Norbert Wiener (1894). After her are Edward Norton Lorenz (1917), Herbert A. Hauptman (1917), Mary Jackson (1921), Alonzo Church (1903), Lloyd Shapley (1923), Sam Loyd (1841), and Karen Uhlenbeck (1942).