Portrait of Grace Hopper, computer scientist and Rear Admiral of the US Navy, which has been overlaid with a bit of COBOL code. The image is painted digitally using only five colours; hues of purple, white and a peachy accent colour.

Grace Hopper

Media: Digital.

Grace Hopper was a computer scientist, but also an American States Navy rear admiral. She was a pioneer of computer programming and the first to device the theory of machine-independent programming languages. This led to the creation of COBOL. She also coined the term “Debug” within programming, as she had to remove a moth that got stuck in a relay while she was working on the Mark II computer at Harvard University.

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Portrait of Katherine Johnson, overlaid with some of the research she did. The image is painted digitally using only five colours; hues of purple, white and a peachy accent colour.

Katherine Johnson

Media: Digital.

Not ony was Katherine Johnson a mathematician, but she was also one of the first African-American women to work for NASA. There she calculated trajectories, launch windows and emergency return paths, she also pioneered the use of computers to perform these tasks.

Portrait of Margaret Hamilton overlaid with some of the code and the interface of the DSKY (Display and Keyboard) for the Apollo Guidance Computer used on Apollo 11. The image is painted digitally using only five colours; hues of purple, white and a peachy accent colour.

Margaret Hamilton

Media: Digital.

While Margaret Hamilton worked at the MIT Instrument Laboratory as a computer scientists they were contracted to for NASA’s Apollo programme. Her work included developing the on-board flight software for NASA’s Apollo programme. She also coined the term “Software engineer”.

Portrait of Mae Jamison in her space suit, overlaid with the emblem used for the STS-47 space mission insignia and one of her quotes which reads

Mae Jamison

Media: Digital.

Mae Jemison is an engineer, physician and a former NASA astronaut. In 1992 she became the first Black woman in space when she served as a mission specialist during the STS-47 mission.

Portrait of Carolyn Parker, overlaid her top is a stylised atom signifying her physics degree, and the outline of the pin the contributors of the Manhattan Project received. The image is painted digitally using only five colours; hues of blues, white and a pink accent colour.

Carolyn Parker

Media: Digital.

Carolyn Parker was a physicist, she was the first African-American woman to receive a graduate degree in physics. She worked on the top secret Manhattan Project, with her work centered around the radioactive element polonium in the effort to find an initiator for the atomic bomb. She continued her studies in order to get a PhD, however, she was unable to complete it. She was diagnosed with leukemia, which she thought she might have been caused due to her work with polonium, and passed away from leukaemia at the age of 47.

Portrait of Mary Jackson, her top is overlaid with graphs and a bit of text from her paper she co-authored about the “Effects of Cone Angle, Mach Number, and Nose Blunting on Transition at Supersonic Speeds”. The image is painted digitally using only five colours; hues of blues, white and a pink accent colour.

Mary Jackson

Media: Digital.

Mary Jackson was a mathematician and aerospace engineer, who initially stated working for NACA (which became NASA in 1958) as a research mathematician, or human computer. Later she worked with engineer Kazimierz Czarnecki, who encouraged her to undergo training to become an engineer. After completing the courses she was hired an aerospace engineer in 1958, which made her her NASA’s first black female engineer. Her work included understanding thrust, air flow, and drag forces, in order to improve planes. Later in her career she worked to influence the career path of women in science, engineering and mathematics at NASA.