Tag Archives: Wikipedia

Pictures: El Camino Real 31st Convention

3 bishops at El Camino Real convention 2011

The 31st annual convention of the Episcopal Diocese of El Camino Real was held this weekend in Salinas, California. Bishop Mary Gray-Reeeves and the convention were honored to host two guest Bishops, the Right Reverend Sadock Makaya (Diocese of Western Tanganyika) and the Rt. Rev. Michael Perham (Diocese of Gloucester) and their delegations. My husband John and Rev. Stephenie Cooper ran the electronics and I participated as part of the delegation from St. Andrew’s (Saratoga).  We prayed, celebrated, sang, ate and drank, laughed at the picture of Bishop Barbie, and passed resolutions on strategic planning, use of scents in church, and started a study on poverty and unequal wealth.

I just updated Bishop Mary’s Wikipedia entry to include information about the successful companion diocese relationship started in 2008:

At the 2008 meeting of the Lambeth Conferences of the Anglican Communion, Bishops Mary Gray-Reeves of El Camino Real , Michael Perham of Gloucester , and Gerard Mpango of Western Tanganyika formed a Partnership of their Dioceses. This successful Companion Diocese [5] relationship has resulted in an annual round of visits between the bishops and delegations to each other’s home countries and the 2011 book The Hospitality of God[6] by Mary Gray-Reeves and Michael Perham. On 30 June 2010, the three Bishops wrote a joint letter [7] to Rowan Williams , the Archbishop of Canterbury about what they were learning. In 2010, Bishop Sadock Makaya succeeded Bishop Gerard Mpango in the partnership.

3 bishops at El Camino Real convention 2011 . El Camino Real convention 2011
El Camino Real convention 2011 . El Camino Real convention 2011

Mary Gray-Reeves and Bishop Barbie

El Camino Real convention 2011 . El Camino Real convention 2011

El Camino Real convention 2011

Images Copyright 2011 by Katy Dickinson

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New Wikipedia Entry: Danny Cohen

Danny Cohen and I have been discussing and editing his new Wikipedia biography since before Christmas.

Danny is a Sun Distinguished Engineer who works down the hall from me in Menlo Park, California. Danny also worked on the ARPANet, the forerunner to the Internet. He was the first to run a visual flight simulator across the ARPANet after pioneering visual real time interactive flight simulation on general purpose computers, and also pioneering real time radar simulation. Later, Danny also led projects on real time interactive applications over the ARPAnet and the Internet, such as packet-voice (aka Voice over Internet Protocol) and packet-video.

Danny is best known for his 1980 paper “On Holy Wars and a Plea for Peace” which coined the terms “Big Endians” and “Little Endians”. There is even a Wikipedia article on Endianness. Danny still considers himself a student of Ivan Sutherland.

Tonight, my husband John and I got Danny’s entry posted. We are still adding references and links and I have promised Danny that I will post a better photo. Check it out:

Danny Cohen (engineer).

This is my second original Wikipedia entry. My first was about early NASA mathematician and Computer  Katherine Johnson

Some pictures of Danny and me:

Our subway map project

Danny Cohen, Katy Dickinson, Sun Labs Metro Maps<br /> photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson

At Dr. Edward Tufte’s class

Katy Dickinson and Danny Cohen at Edward Tufte class<br /> photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson

Images Copyright 2008-2009 Katy Dickinson

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New Wikipedia Entry: Katherine Johnson

My husband John and I just spent most of the afternoon creating a new  Wikipedia entry about Computer Science Pioneer Katherine Johnson (based on my 23 December 2009 blog entry). My daughter Jessica also advised on the project. Even though we started out with all of the information in HTML, we ended up reworking the text and references to fit into Wikipedia’s format and style. My initial Wikipedia discussion comment indicated that the blog entry came first, yet within seconds of publication, an automatic searchbot tagged the article
as a near-duplication of my original blog entry. I went left a second comment acknowledging the source.

This is my first original Wikipedia entry. I started thinking about what I could add to Wikipedia after reading Clay Shirky’s excellent 2008 book Here Comes Everybody earlier this year. Jessica is reading my copy of Shirky’s book now and adding her margin comments to mine.
I am curious to see what kind of comments are made on the Katherine Johnson Wikipedia entry and whether any valuable information is added.

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Katherine Johnson, Computer and Pioneer

Creative Commons License
This work is in the Public

Welding WP668 caboose stair rail
photo: 1979 U.S. Department of Energy A benefit of creating the

Famous Women in Computer Science
list is learning new stories of amazing women
who have been recommended by my generous readers. Notable even in this
remarkably accomplished group is Katherine Johnson. Ms Johnson was brought to
my attention by
Kristin Yvonne Rozier
, a Research Computer Scientist at

NASA Ames Research Center
here in the San Francisco Bay Area. When I first
met Kristin, she worked at

NASA Langley Research Center
, where Katherine Johnson had also worked.

About Katherine Johnson

Katherine Johnson made significant contributions to America’s aeronautics and space advances and she was a pioneer in advancing our society. Her accomplishments contributed to the success of our nation’s early space program and in the early application of digital electronic computers at NASA. Her courage and perseverance helped to lead the way for both women and African-Americans in technical fields.

Education and Early Work

Katherine Coleman was born in 1918 in White Sulfur Springs, West Virginia. Her mother, Joylette, had been a teacher and her father, Joshua, was a farmer who also worked as a janitor. Since local schools only offered classes to African-Americans through the eighth grade, her father drove the children to a school 125 miles away. Katherine graduated from high school at 14, from college at 18. She taught in elementary and high schools in West Virginia and Virginia for 17 years. Then, Katherine Johnson went to work as a “computer” for the Langley Research Center, part of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). NACA later became the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Katherine Johnson at NASA

According to her oral history archived by the National Visionary Leadership Project:

“…in June 1953, Katherine was contracted as a research mathematician at the Langley Research Center… At first she worked in a pool of women performing math calculations. Katherine has referred to the women in the pool as virtual `computers who wore skirts.’ Their main job was to read the data from the black boxes of planes and carry out other precise mathematical tasks. Then one day, Katherine (and a colleague) were temporarily assigned to help the all-male flight research team. Katherine’s knowledge of analytic geometry helped make quick allies of male bosses and colleagues to the extent that,’they forgot to return me to the pool.’ While the racial and gender barriers were always there, Katherine says she ignored them. Katherine was assertive, asking to be included in editorial meetings (where no women had gone before.) She simply told people she had done the work and that she belonged.”

At NASA, Katherine Johnson started work in the all-male Flight Mechanics Branch and later moved to the Spacecraft Controls Branch. She calculated the trajectory for the space flight of Alan Shepard, the first American in space, in 1959 and the launch window for his 1961 Mercury mission. She plotted backup navigational charts for astronauts in case of electronic failures. In 1962, when NASA used computers for the first time to calculate John Glenn’s orbit around Earth, officials called on her to verify the computer’s numbers. Ms. Johnson later worked directly with real computers. Her ability and reputation for accuracy helped to establish confidence in the new technology. She calculated the trajectory for the
1969 Apollo 11 flight to the Moon. Later in her career, she worked on the Space Shuttle program, the Earth Resources Satellite, and on plans for a mission to Mars.

Katherine Johnson’s Legacy

In total, Katherine Johnson co-authored 26 scientific papers, of which only one can now be found. The practice in 1960 would have been not to list the female Computers as formal co-authors, so that she was listed as an author is significant.

Katherine Johnson’s social impact as a pioneer in space science and computing may be seen both from the honors she has received and the number of times her story is presented as a role model. Since 1979 (before she retired from NASA), Katherine Johnson’s biography has had an honored place in lists of African-Americans in Science and Technology. In an era when race and gender held back many, Katherine Johnson’s courage, perseverance, and talent helped her to succeed. The continuing need for historical success models for both women and African-Americans makes Katherine Johnson particularly important.

Katherine Johnson and Computer Science

Much of Katherine Johnson’s life predates the academic discipline now called Computer Science; however, she has two strong ties to the field. First, as a “Computer” scientist she is one of few people to carry this historical title which refers to when humans did what computers do now. It’s the same work, just less automated back then. Second, she was one of the earliest people in the area now called verification of avionics software systems. In 1962, people were still used to check the results found by NASA’s mechanical computers: to verify that the trajectories were correctly computed. When Katherine Johnson worked with the flight research team, she probably influenced the ways in which early computers were initially integrated into avionics systems by determining how they could be most useful, and that they were reliable enough. Like Katherine Johnson, many of those who work today in avionics software verification have math degrees because of the nature of the tools used. NASA now calls workers in that area Research Computer Scientists. Work at NASA is interdisciplinary, so it is hard to classify people into traditional categories; however, avionics hardware and software verification are unquestionably part of what we now call Computer Science.

Curriculum Vitae

Katherine Johnson

Experience Summary

    • 1953-1986 NASA Langley Research Center, Virginia
    • 1953-1958 Computer (mathematician), Langley Research Center with
      the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA)
    • 1958-1986, Aerospace Technologist, NASA
    • 1952-1953 Substitute math teacher for Newport News, VA, public schools
    • 1936-1952 Teacher in rural Virginia and West Virginia high schools and elementary


    • 1940 West Virginia University graduate program in Math
    • 1937 West Virginia State University (West Virginia State College),
      BS in Mathematics and French, summa cum laude
    • 1932 West Virginia State High School


    • 2006, Honorary Doctor of Science by the Capitol College of Laurel Maryland
    • 1999, West Virginia State College Outstanding Alumnus of the Year
    • 1988, Honorary Doctor of Laws, from SUNY Farmingdale
    • 1986, NASA Langley Research Center Special Achievement award
    • 1985, NASA Langley Research Center Special Achievement award
    • 1984, NASA Langley Research Center Special Achievement award
    • 1980, NASA Langley Research Center Special Achievement award
    • 1971, NASA Langley Research Center Special Achievement award
    • 1967, Apollo Group Achievement Award – this award included one of only 300 flags flown to the moon on-board the Apollo 11
    • 1967, NASA Lunar Orbiter Spacecraft and Operations team award – for pioneering work in the field of navigation problems supporting the five spacecraft that orbited and mapped the moon in preparation for the Apollo missions


    • NASA TND-233, “The Determination of Azimuth Angle at Burnout for Placing a Satellite over a Selected Earth Position” 1960. Authors: T.H. Skopinski, Katherine G. Johnson

      This is a formal peer-reviewed NASA report. The practice at the time would have been not to list the female Computers as formal co-authors, so the fact that she was included is significant.

Published Biographies and References


    • On August 26, 1918, Katherine Coleman was born in White Sulfur Springs, West Virginia. In 1939, she married James Francis Goble and started a family. The Gobles had three daughters: Constance, Joylette, and Katherine. In 1956, James Goble died of an inoperable brain tumor. In 1959, Katherine Johnson married Lt. Colonel James A. Johnson. She sang in the choir of Carver Presbyterian Church for fifty years.
    • Katherine Johnson and her husband live in Hampton, Virginia, and enjoy spending time with six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Ms. Johnson still plays piano, bridge, and solves puzzles.

Grateful thanks to
Lesa B. Roe
, Gail S. Langevin, and Jim Hodges of NASA Langley, and to Kristin Yvonne Rozier of NASA Ames for their help in collecting and developing this information. All honor to Katherine Johnson for leading the way.

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Certify Your Habitat

My backyard is now a Wildlife Habitat certified by the National Wildlife Federation. I found out about this program from our new neighbor, Linda, who is also an enthusiastic gardener. Linda is delighted to have moved in so close to the Guadalupe River here in San Jose, California. According to  Wikipedia, the Guadalupe is the only known salmon spawning river running through a major U.S. downtown area (outside of Anchorage, Alaska). The Guadalupe is not only a river of water and fish but also of ducks, geese, song birds, humming birds, hawks, vultures, racoons, opossums, cats, squirrels (grey, black, and gold), snakes, lizards, Jerusalem crickets, and homeless people. John and I own to the middle of the river along our back property, so providing a wildlife habitat means not messing up what we already have.

To provide certification, the National Wildlife Federation asks that elements from each of the following areas be provided:

    • Food Sources. For example: Native plants, seeds, fruits, nuts, berries, nectar
    • Water Sources. For example: Birdbath, pond, water garden, stream
    • Places for Cover. For example: Thicket, rockpile, birdhouse
    • Places to Raise Young. For example: Dense shrubs, vegetation, nesting box, pond
    • Sustainable Gardening. For example: Mulch, compost, rain garden, chemical-free fertilizer

Here is my new certificate:

Wildlife Habitat Certificate by National Wildlife Federation<br /> photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson

Some recent pictures of our backyard river:

Log jam

Log Jam - Guadalupe River<br /> photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson

Top of bank

Top of Bank - Guadalupe River<br /> photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson

Down the bank

Down the Bank - Guadalupe River<br /> photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson

Images Copyright 2008 by Katy Dickinson

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