A Black woman who was a mathematician, aeronautical engineer and worked for NASA for 40 years researching supersonic flight and sonic booms? I stan!
Christine Darden took part in a Q&A for Quanta Magazine last month and discussed her time at NASA, Girl Scouts, and how to make fast planes quieter.
My favourite part of the Q&A:
What was it like? Did you ever talk with the male engineers in those early years?
Yes, I often did after getting an assignment. Once, an engineer asked me to complete his work by writing a computer program. It was an interesting assignment. When I finished, he said my program gave incorrect answers. I reviewed and ran it again. He laughed and said, “That’s still not right.”
I didn’t like the laugh. My work wasn’t wrong. I looked at the work he had done prior to giving me the assignment and found one sign error. When I corrected his mistake and ran the code again, the numbers looked good.
Was he gracious?
No. But he didn’t laugh anymore.
Quanta-related: The quantum internet