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Hidden Figures - COMmon Read 2017-2018  

Last Updated: Nov 8, 2017 URL: http://libguides.marin.edu/hiddenfigures Print Guide

Contact Information and Odds & Ends Print Page

See the International Space Station!

Want to see the International Space Station crossing the sky?

From Professor David Everitt:

You can find times when the International Space Station (ISS) is visible crossing the sky, sometime just before dawn and sometimes just after sunset (usually more convenient).

  • Go to the website Heavens-Above 
  • Click "Change your observing location"
  • Enter your location on the earth
  • Click "10-day predictions for satellites of special interest: ISS"

The ISS is visible as a point of light, passing across the sky slowing and steadily. The light you see is sunlight reflected from the solar panels on the station, so eventually it moves into the earth’s shadow and goes dark. 

The connection with Hidden Figures is that it is reminiscent of the description of Americans watching Sputnik cross the sky.  Now, it is fun to watch there ISS cross and think about 6 astronauts from several countries are up there right now.

Thanks, David Everitt!


Human Computers at NASA

Human Computers at NASA
From Macalester College. Useful timeline, 1831-1968

Human Computers
From NASA. Lots of resources, including a list of women who were computers


Gil Scott-Heron - "Whitey On the Moon"

Small Talk.jpg

Photo Credit

"Whitey On the Moon" by Gil Scott-Heron, from his album A New Black Poet - Small Talk at 125th and Lenox, 1970.

Article by Alexis C. Madrigal about this poem from "The Atlantic"  "My words of appreciation for his work and life are small before his talent. Let me just say that his track, 'Whitey on the Moon,' changed the way I thought about the space race forever. It anchored the flight into the heavens, tethering it to the persistence of racial inequality, and pulling it out of the abstract, universal realm in which we like to place our technical achievements."


This NASA Genius Invented the Super Soaker

This NASA genius invented the Super Soaker

Remember the childhood hours of fun spent blasting your friends with neon-tinged water cannons? You can thank a NASA scientist for that. In 1982, Lonnie Johnson designed the Super Soaker. But that wasn't Johnson's only invention. The award-winning scientist came up with everything from the Nerf gun to a thermoelectric energy converter, and now he's got even bigger aims. Lonnie Johnson: we thank you for your contributions to humanity and our childhoods. From CNN's website, "Great Big Story."

Picture of Lonnie Johnson


How Many Women Were There?

Question: How many African American female mathematicians were there at NASA during the time period of the book Hidden Figures?

Answer: Author Margot Lee Shetterly estimates that there were about 80 African American female mathematicians working for NASA between 1943 and the early 1980s.

Question: What was the total of all female mathematicians at NASA during the same time?

Answer: Shetterly thinks maybe more than 1000.

For more details, please see Ms. Shetterly's discussion on "Black America: Human Computers with Margot Shetterly" at about minute 9.

Picture of Margot Lee Shetterly


Author Margot Lee Shetterly's Facebook & Twitter Accounts


The Bayview Project

The Bayview Project

Hidden Figures begins in the early 1940s. What was going on here in the San Francisco Bay Area at that time? In addition to the creation of Marin City (Please see "Marinship" tab on this guide), many African Americans migrated to Bayview, a neighborhood in southern San Francisco. Learn about it here! From the Museum of the African Diaspora, which is a great place to visit in San Francisco. It's on Mission Street between 2nd and 3rd Street, right around the corner from the Museum of Modern Art. Please see map.

“We were just as segregated here as we were in the South. Bayview couldn’t have existed if there wasn’t segregation.” - Mary Booker

Image of Mary Booker

Mary Booker. Read her memories here.


Only Woman to Win Fields Math Medal Dies

Maryam Mirzakhani, Only Woman to Win Prestigious Math Award, Dies at 40

"Maryam Mirzakhani, an Iranian mathematician who was the only woman ever to win a Fields Medal, the most prestigious honor in mathematics, died on Saturday. She was 40. The cause was breast cancer, said Stanford University, where she was a professor....The Fields Medal, established in 1936, is often described as the Nobel Prize of mathematics." "New York Times," July 16, 2017.

Picture of Maryam Mirzakhani


Why Women Aren't CEOs

"Why Women Aren’t C.E.O.s,
According to Women Who Almost Were"

"It’s not a pipeline problem. It’s about loneliness, competition and deeply rooted barriers."


Hiring, Diversity, and College of Marin

Want to read more about diversity issues and the hiring process? Check out this College of Marin LIbGuide, chock-full of resources!

Questions about COMmon Read? Ideas?

Profile Image
David Patterson
Contact Info
(415) 457-8811, extension 7869

The Civil Rights Movement in The Bay Area

"The Civil Rights Movement in The Bay Area"

Digital Curator — Regena Rosati, The Bancroft Library, UC Berkeley.

"This exhibit shows the struggles and triumphs during the Civil Rights Movement in the Bay Area through photographs and news stories from the News-Call Bulletin Newspaper during the period 1960-1965."



National Museum of African American History and Culture

Check out the collections of the newest Smithsonian museum, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, which opened in 2016:

National Museum of African American History and Culture

For example, here are museum objects related to some aspects of Hidden Figures:

Hampton, Virginia
Civil Rights

Katherine Johnson photo by Annie Leibovitz

Example of great museum objects you can find: Photo of Katherine Johnson by Annie Leibovitz!


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