“Hidden Figure” and NASA Engineer Christine Darden to Speak at UNC Asheville on March 1


Christine Darden, a leading mathematician, data analyst and aeronautical engineer during her 40 years at NASA, will deliver UNC Asheville’s annual Parsons Lecture at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 1, in Lipinsky Auditorium. Her talk is free and open to everyone.

Darden is one of the researchers featured in the 2016 book, Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race, and she was the first African-American women at NASA’s Langley Research Center to be promoted into the Senior Executive Service for her work researching supersonic flight and sonic booms.

Chrstine Darden at NASAHer talk, titled From Monroe to NASA, will chronicle her journey from girlhood in the Piedmont of North Carolina, to Allen High School in Asheville, and the things she had to overcome to gain success and recognition at NASA. Darden gained her M.S. in mathematics before entering starting work at NASA and later earned a Ph.D. in engineering from The George Washington University. An internationally known expert in sonic boom minimization, she retired from NASA in 2007.

UNC Asheville’s annual Parsons Lecture is funded through an endowment from a mathematics alumnus in honor of Professor Emeritus of Mathematics Joe Parsons. The goal of the Parsons Lecture is to bring to Asheville a nationally renowned mathematician able to communicate mathematical concepts and use with a general audience. This year’s lecture is co-sponsored by the Department of Mathematics and Department of Computer Science.

For more information, contact Sheryl Donaldson in UNC Asheville’s Department of Mathematics, sdonalds@unca.edu or 828.251.6556, or visit math.unca.edu.