Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Some awkward history

I enjoyed watching the movie Hidden Figures. It is based on a book that recounts the little-known history of the contributions of three African-American women to NASA and the first manned space flights in the 1960s. The movie is quite entertaining and moving while raising significant issues about racism and sexism in science. I grimaced at some of the scenes. On the one hand, some would argue we have come a long way in fifty years. On the other hand, we should be concerned about how the rise of Trump will play out in science.

One minor question I have is how much of the math on the blackboards is realistic?

Something worth considering is the extent to which the movie fits the too-common white savior narrative, as highlighted in a critical review, by Marie Hicks.


  1. The mathematics on the board in the movie were courtesy of a Georgia Tech graduate......details here: http://www.news.gatech.edu/features/film-figures

  2. Thanks David. That is a nice article.
    This realism is in contrast to the TV show, Third Rock from the Sun, where the physics professor spouts nonsense and writes nonsense equations on the blackboard.