Barbie doll honors 100-year-old Katherine Johnson, the woman who inspired ‘Hidden Figures’

Does your Barbie know mathematics? If not, you need to add this collectible Barbie to your collection. Modeled after Katherine Johnson, a legendary mathematician from West Virginia who turned 100 years old in August, the doll is one of Mattel’s Inspiring Women Series.

Johnson was featured in the 2016 film “Hidden Figures,” a movie about female NASA employees whose work was critical to the first manned spaceflight missions. Mattel says the series “pays tribute to incredible heroines of their time; courageous women who took risks, changed rules, and paved the way for generations of girls to dream bigger than ever before.” Johnson’s doll, dressed in a 1960s-era suit and glasses as well as a NASA badge, is available on Amazon for $15.88.

Mattel includes a short biography of Johnson on its website: “While growing up in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, Katherine Johnson displayed an intense curiosity and an extraordinary brilliance with words and numbers alike. As a child prodigy, she entered high school at 10 years old and graduated summa cum laude from college when she was just eighteen with two Bachelor of Science degrees in mathematics and French. In the mid-1950s, she joined a pool of African-American women hired by NASA to work as human computers. Katherine calculated the trajectory of NASA’s first American-manned flight into space. Her flawless calculations helped ensure that the Apollo astronauts landed and returned safely from their voyage to the moon. Her figures were so consistently accurate, that when NASA switched to computers, they had Katherine double-check the accuracy of the results.”

Taraji P. Henson as Katherine Johnson, Octavia Spencer as Dorothy Vaughan and Janelle Monáe as Mary Jackson in “Hidden Figures.”Hopper Stone/20th Century Fox

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