Katherine Johnson

1918 - 2020

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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 10,761,023 page views. Her biography is available in 48 different languages on Wikipedia (up from 33 in 2019). Katherine Johnson is the 79th most popular mathematician (up from 119th in 2019), the 421st most popular biography from United States (up from 778th in 2019) and the 5th most popular American 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)

  • 75.16

    Historical Popularity Index (HPI)

  • 48

    Languages Editions (L)

  • 4.09

    Effective Languages (L*)

  • 4.05

    Coefficient of Variation (CV)

Page views of Katherine Johnsons by language


Among mathematicians, Katherine Johnson ranks 79 out of 828Before her are Richard Dedekind, Siméon Denis Poisson, Andrey Kolmogorov, Johann Heinrich Lambert, Benoit Mandelbrot, and Jacob Bernoulli. After her are Regiomontanus, Bhāskara II, Ctesibius, Giuseppe Peano, Pappus of Alexandria, and Felix Klein.

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Among people born in 1918, Katherine Johnson ranks 16Before her are Louis Althusser, Leonard Bernstein, Rita Hayworth, Jørn Utzon, Helmut Schmidt, and Ken Miles. After her are Frederick Sanger, Alberto Ascari, Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, William Holden, Gertrude B. Elion, and Billy Graham. Among people deceased in 2020, Katherine Johnson ranks 19Before her are Krzysztof Penderecki, Alan Parker, Pierre Cardin, Michel Piccoli, Lucia Bosè, and Little Richard. After her are Stanley Cohen, Mary Higgins Clark, Qasem Soleimani, Lee Teng-hui, Tabaré Vázquez, and George Steiner.

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In United States

Among people born in United States, Katherine Johnson ranks 421 out of 15,968Before her are Robert Kardashian (1944), Chet Baker (1929), Jeff Bezos (1964), Susan Sarandon (1946), Barry Barish (1936), and Bernie Madoff (1938). After her are Kurt Vonnegut (1922), James Caan (1940), Nicole Kidman (1967), Julia Roberts (1967), Dean Martin (1917), and Ernest Borgnine (1917).

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), Norbert Wiener (1894), and Claude Shannon (1916). After her are Edward Norton Lorenz (1917), Alonzo Church (1903), Herbert A. Hauptman (1917), Sam Loyd (1841), Mary Jackson (1921), Lloyd Shapley (1923), and Karen Uhlenbeck (1942).