NASA legend Katherine Johnson turns 100 years old this week

Originally published at:


What a stunning amount of history she has both made and seen.


Racist? Scrolls up to look at her picture again… I think the calculus of racism must be far more complicated than a rocket launch. smh.

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Best movie I saw last year!


Racism is pretty tricky in deed… My late mother, who had fair skin, auburn hair and blue green eyes still had to live on the other side of segregation.

She was always on the fair-skinned side but more than black enough to get crappy treatment in a racist society. It was probably more obvious when she still had dark hair.


I took my kids to see Hidden Figures on International Women’s Day last year. Great movie (even if they made some minor concessions on historical accuracy for the sake of storytelling). We loved seeing her story.


Agreed. But what the heck was the deal with fixing the stalled car at the beginning of the movie by “bypassing the starter?”

  1. A bad starter won’t cause your car to suddenly die as it’s driving down the road.
  2. “Bypassing the starter” to get the engine started doesn’t make any sense unless the engine includes an old-timey starter crank. Using a screwdriver to short out a bad starter solenoid is possible, but still doesn’t explain why the car died in the first place.

Why couldn’t the writers have come up with a more plausible engine problem that a clever mechanically inclined person could solve? Clogged fuel filter, broken fan belt, bad fuel pump, electrical glitch, etc. As an engineer it took me a couple minutes to let that go and get back into the movie.

I read recently that Katherine Johnson declined to have a Lego Minifig created in her likeness. While I was a little disappointed, I certainly respect her wish.

Does anyone know the backstory, and has she said specifically why she declined?

edited to add:

this was the set as originally designed (with Ms. Johnson):

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