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Galaxy in space

Free movie, dinner and discussion: Hidden Figures

By Srila Nayak

The College of Science will treat science students, faculty and staff to dinner and a movie followed by a lively discussion on Tuesday, January 31. The movie is “Hidden Figures,” the 2016 Oscar-nominated biographical film about pioneering yet little known female African-American mathematicians at NASA.

Based on the book Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Sheerly, the film depicts the incredible and inspiring NASA careers of Katherine G. Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson who started working in the Jim Crow era. Johnson was a physicist and mathematician, who calculated flight trajectories for Project Mercury, the 1969 Apollo 11 flight to the moon and many other early NASA missions. Jackson went on to become NASA’s first black female engineer. Vaughan was the first African-American woman to supervise a staff at NASA.

The film shows how the three women overcame racial discrimination and other social obstacles to contribute in vital ways to NASA’s various missions at a time when black women and men were still being subjected to segregation and barred from higher education and high-skilled jobs.

After the movie, the College will host a pizza dinner and an hour-long discussion exploring issues raised by the film that go beyond NASA and the field of mathematics and connecting with many of the College’s initiatives around diversity, equity and inclusion.

If interested, faculty, students, faculty and staff can RSVP to Michael Lopez at

Movie: Carmike Cinema at 4:10 pm, January 31, 2017 (Tuesday). Please arrive 15 minutes early.

Discussion and Dinner: Kidder 128, 6:45 p.m.—7:45 p.m.