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Margaret Hamilton ’58 —
Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipient

Margaret H. Hamilton ’58 — a computer scientist who helped create the on-board flight software for NASA’s Apollo and Skylab missions and the Space Shuttle — received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the United States, from President Barack Obama at a White House ceremony on Nov. 22, 2016.  Read More →

· Video of the Presidential Medal of Freedom presentation

"On behalf of the entire Earlham community, I congratulate Margaret Hamilton on this incredible and well deserved honor. Margaret is a wonderful example of what we hope for all Earlhamites: that they will be able to use their intelligence, multidisciplinary interests, curiosity and innovative spirit to contribute to positive change in the world. In particular, she is an inspiration to young women scientists who can look at her as a reminder for what is possible. Her incredible accomplishments make us all proud to be Earlhamites." 

— Earlham President David Dawson

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No Second Chances
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At the start of the Apollo program, the onboard flight software needed to land on the moon didn’t exist. Computer science wasn’t in any college curriculum. NASA turned to mathematician Margaret Hamilton, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, to pioneer and direct the effort.

With her colleagues, she developed the building blocks for modern “software engineering,” a term Hamilton coined. What later became the foundations for her Universal Systems Language (001AXES) and Development Before the Fact (DBTF) formal systems theory, allowed the team to create what she called ultra-reliable software for the moon trip.  Read More →

— from NASA Engineers and Scientists - Transforming Dreams Into Reality

An Interview with the Woman Who Took Us to the Moon

What, or who, led you to the field of programming? What would you say was your biggest inspiration as a young programmer?

Even though I was more often than not the only woman in my math and physics classes at both the University of Michigan and Earlham College, one of the math professors at Earlham College was a woman, named Florence Long; and she was a favorite of all of the students studying math. She was also a great human being.

As a result, I had originally wanted to major in abstract math along with mathematical linguistics, and then become a professor in math.  Read More →

— from Futurism

Women of NASA Immortalized in Legos

A set of five scientists, engineers and astronauts — including Margaret Hamilton — has won a Lego Ideas contest. From left to right: Margaret Hamilton, Katherine Johnson, Sally Ride, Nancy Grace Roman and Mae Jemison. The "Women of NASA" set will be available by late 2017 or early 2018.

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Credits

“No Second Chances”: A.J.S. Rayl, NASA.

“An Interview with the Woman Who Took Us to the Moon”:  This interview of Margaret Hamilton by Jolene Creighton is adapted from a longer piece published by Futurism “Margaret Hamilton: The Untold Story of the Woman Who Took Us to the MoonUsed by CC.

Photo atop page, Hamilton next to the navigation software that she and her MIT team produced for the Apollo project (MIT/Draper Laboratory).

Photo with No More Chances, Hamilton, lead Apollo flight software engineer, in the Apollo Command Module (NASA).

"Hidden figures no more: female Nasa staff to be immortalised in Lego": The Guardian.

Photo of Women of NASA Lego Set. (Lego).