Book Summary: Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly

Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly Book Cover

Hidden Figures is a book written by Margot Lee Shetterly that tells the story of African American women who worked at NASA during the space race. The book sheds light on the contributions of these women, who were instrumental in helping the United States win the space race against the Soviet Union. The book is based on extensive research and interviews with the women themselves, and it provides a detailed account of their experiences and achievements.

Chapter Summaries

Chapter 1: The Problem with the Pool

The first chapter of Hidden Figures introduces the reader to the women who worked at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), which later became NASA. The chapter focuses on the “West Area Computers,” a group of African American women who were responsible for calculating the numbers that would be used by engineers and scientists. The women were all highly skilled mathematicians, but they were also limited by the fact that they were women and African American. The chapter also introduces the reader to Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, and Katherine Johnson, three women who would go on to become key figures in the book.

Chapter 2: Fast, Accurate, and Necessary

The second chapter of Hidden Figures focuses on the work of the West Area Computers. The women were responsible for calculating the numbers that would be used by engineers and scientists, and they were incredibly skilled at their jobs. The chapter also introduces the reader to John von Neumann, a mathematician who helped develop the electronic computer. The chapter ends with the arrival of the ENIAC, the first electronic computer, at NACA.

Chapter 3: The Birth of an Industry

The third chapter of Hidden Figures focuses on the development of the aerospace industry in the United States. The chapter introduces the reader to the work of NACA, which was responsible for developing new technologies and techniques that would be used in the development of aircraft. The chapter also introduces the reader to the work of the women who worked at NACA, including Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, and Katherine Johnson.

Chapter 4: The Sky Is the Limit

The fourth chapter of Hidden Figures focuses on the work of the women who worked at NACA during the space race. The chapter introduces the reader to the work of the women who were responsible for calculating the numbers that would be used by engineers and scientists. The chapter also introduces the reader to the work of the women who worked on the Apollo program, including Katherine Johnson, who was responsible for calculating the numbers that would be used by the astronauts.

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Chapter 5: The Power of the Press

The fifth chapter of Hidden Figures focuses on the media coverage of the women who worked at NACA. The chapter introduces the reader to the work of the women who were responsible for calculating the numbers that would be used by engineers and scientists. The chapter also introduces the reader to the work of the women who worked on the Apollo program, including Katherine Johnson, who was responsible for calculating the numbers that would be used by the astronauts. The chapter ends with the successful landing of Apollo 11 on the moon.

Conclusion

Hidden Figures is a book that tells the story of African American women who worked at NASA during the space race. The book is based on extensive research and interviews with the women themselves, and it provides a detailed account of their experiences and achievements. The book is an important contribution to the history of the aerospace industry, and it is a reminder of the important role that women have played in the development of science and technology.

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