Melba Roy Mouton
Ink and watercolor on 9″ x 12″ watercolor paper
The latest addition to my ‘She Changed the World’ collection
Melba Roy Mouton (1929(?) to 1990) graduated from Howard University in 1950 with a master’s degree in mathematics. She began working with NASA in 1959, following time with the Army Map Service and the Census Bureau. At NASA she became the head mathematician for the Echo satellite group, computing by hand the trajectories of the satellites, something that is still difficult for computerized programs to handle. She did it with the power of her mind. She was involved in the formation of the APL programming language, which is still prominently used by programs like concept modeling, spreadsheets, functional programming and math packages, and has inspired several other programming languages. She retired in 1973 after being awarded with the Apollo Achievement Award and the Exceptional Performance Award.
She broke racial and gender barriers on the ground and mapped the courses of satellites in space. Pretty cool.