March 2, 2017

MIT Reads: Hidden Figures (Winter 2017 book selection)

Winter 2017 book selection

In February we are partnering with the Black Women’s Alliance to read:

Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly.

From the publisher’s press release:

“Imagine the first scientists and engineers trying to send rockets—and eventually people—into space. With no electronic computers, they relied on an elite group of mathematicians capable of doing the most challenging calculations by hand, calculations that would launch men into space and forever expand our knowledge of the universe.

Among these “human computers” were the black women whose genius for numbers made space exploration and travel possible. They’re finally introduced to America in Margot Lee Shetterly’s Hidden FiguresThe American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race.

It’s no surprise that this story was adapted for film even before the book was finished. It’s the inspiring yet largely unknown true story of the African-American female mathematicians at NASA whose work that helped fuel some of America’s greatest achievements in space. Ironically, Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden were responsible for some of NASA’s greatest successes at a time when Jim Crow laws ensured NASA remained segregated.”

Getting the book

The MIT Libraries own several print copies and one audiobook of Hidden Figures. Check the linked catalog records above to see availability and be added to the waiting list. Also, the MIT Press Bookstore is offering this book at a steep discount to the MIT community, just show your MIT ID when purchasing.

Community discussions

Discussions are open to the entire MIT community; pre-registration is required.

  • Wednesday, February 22, 5-7pm – Register
  • Thursday, March 2, 12-1pm – Register

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