Last year, Lego announced its Lego Ideas Competition, asking the public to submit proposals for new Lego sets. This week, the winner was revealed and it’s a doozy. The Women of NASA Set, proposed by science writer Maia Weinstock will honor five incredible women who have been instrumental to the Space Agency with custom minifigures and space-science play sets.
In her proposal, Weinstock said, “Women have played critical roles throughout the history of the U.S. space program. Yet in many cases, their contributions are unknown or under-appreciated – especially as women have historically struggled to gain acceptance in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.”
The set, featuring Lego-ized versions of computer scientist Margaret Hamilton, mathematician Katherine Johnson, astronaut Sally Ride, astronaut Mae Jemison, and astronomer Nancy Grace Roman, will be available for purchase later this year. Until then, why not read up on these women? After all, March is Women’s History Month.
Starting in World War II and moving through to the Cold War, the Civil Rights Movement and the Space Race, Hidden Figures follows the interwoven accounts of Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson and Christine Darden, four African American women who participated in some of NASA’s greatest successes. It chronicles their careers over nearly three decades they faced challenges, forged alliances and used their intellect to change their own lives, and their country’s future.
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Margaret and the Moon
Margaret Hamilton loved numbers as a young girl. She knew how many miles it was to the moon (and how many back). She loved studying algebra and geometry and calculus and using math to solve problems in the outside world. Soon math led her to MIT and then to helping NASA put a man on the moon! She handwrote code that would allow the spacecraft’s computer to solve any problems it might encounter. Apollo 8. Apollo 9. Apollo 10. Apollo 11. Without her code, none of those missions could have been completed. Dean Robbins and Lucy Knisley deliver a lovely portrayal of a pioneer in her field who never stopped reaching for the stars.
Sally Ride: America’s First Woman in Space
Sally Ride made history as the first American woman in space. A member of the first astronaut class to include women, she broke through a quarter-century of white male fighter jocks when NASA chose her for the seventh shuttle mission, cracking the celestial ceiling and inspiring several generations of women. This is a rich biography of a fascinating woman whose life intersected with revolutionary social and scientific changes in America. Lynn Sherr’s revealing portrait is warm and admiring but unsparing. It makes this extraordinarily talented and bold woman, an inspiration to millions, come alive.
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Mae Jemison: Awesome Astronaut
Examine the life of imaginative space traveler and medical innovator Mae Jemison. Dig into Jemison’s personal story, beginning with her childhood in Chicago where she watched Star Trek and conducted dozens of her own science experiments. Students can trace Jemison’s success, from her education at Stanford University and Cornell University to her years volunteering with the Peace Corps, before her acceptance into the NASA space program and flight into space on the Endeavour.
Hubble’s Legacy: Reflections by Those Who Dreamed it, Built it, and Observed the Universe with It
The development and operation of the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) have resulted in many rich legacies, most particularly in science and technology – but in culture as well. This book, which includes contributions from historians of science, key scientists and astronomers, including Nacny race Roman, is meant to capture the history of this iconic instrument.