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Women Who Figure An Exhibit Inspired by the Mathematicians of Hidden Figures

Exhibit Overview

Margot Lee Shetterly's 2016 book Hidden Figures tells the story of four African-American women who were “human computers” for NASA over the course of three decades: Christine Darden, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Dorothy Vaughan. In an era marked by discrimination against African-Americans and women, these four made essential contributions to the space program as mathematicians, data analysts, engineers, computer programmers, managers, and researchers.

Inspired by their story, this exhibit highlights their contributions, as well as those of eleven other women mathematicians whose lives span the past 1600 years -- from Hypatia in 5th Century Alexandria, to Maryam Mirzakhani in present-day America.

African-Americans and women have been significant participants in the field of mathematics throughout history. While we've seen progress over the years, both groups remain underrepresented in mathematics; sharing these stories about their contributions can serve as inspiration to all who wish to pursue a career in mathematics.

Exhibit curated by Bonita Dyess, Brian Quigley & Beth Shippey

Exhibit designed by Aisha Hamilton