Interview with Nathalia Holt, author of Rise of the Rocket Girls: The Women Who Propelled Us, From Missiles to the Moon to Mars via National Geographic
Q: What do Tim Berners Lee, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Joel Oppenheimer, Linus Torvalds—the list could go on—all have in common?
A: They are all men.
Sure, there are influential women in technology and science but the numbers are few. The same is true of space exploration. All the world knows the name Buzz Aldrin. How many of us have heard of Bonnie Dunbar or Joan Higginbotham?
But “man” would never have made it to the moon without the work of a group of brilliant and tenacious female mathematicians at the Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, California, argues Nathalia Holt in Rocket Girls: The Women Who Propelled Us, From Missiles to the Moon to Mars.
Speaking from her home in Boston, Holt explains how the lab’s first “computers” were women; why, despite their example, the number of women working in technology today is falling; and how the Voyager program is, literally, carrying these women’s legacies to the stars.