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Alumna, Medal of Freedom recipient to become a LEGO

March 01, 2017

Margaret Hamilton '58, the computer scientist who helped create the on-board flight software for NASA's Apollo, Skylab and Space Shuttle missions, will soon become a LEGO figurine.

Hamilton is one of five scientists, engineers and astronauts featured in LEGO's forthcoming "Women of NASA" set. The company will begin selling the set by late 2017 or early 2018, according to a story published by The Guardian.

Maia Weinstock, an American science writer who created a Twitter account @legoNASAwomen, shared news that the idea was approved recently by the company.

In addition to being immortalized by LEGO, Hamilton was also recognized in 2016 by former President Barack Obama as one of 21 recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The medal is the highest civilian honor in the United States. Other recipients included Kareem-Abdul Jabbar, Ellen DeGeneres and Bruce Springsteen.

At Earlham, Hamilton majored in mathematics and philosophy. She deferred entry into a doctoral program in abstract mathematics in order to work on the fledging space program.

She directed the on-board flight software project for the Apollo and Skylab projects while serving as director of the software engineering division of the Charles Stark Draper Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She became a pioneer in the systems engineering and software development industry. Later, she helped define system software requirements for the Space Shuttle program.

Hamilton is founder and CEO of Hamilton Technologies, Inc., which designs systems and develops software based on a paradigm known as “Development Before the Fact.” In 1986, she received the Augusta Lovelace Award from the Association for Women in Computing, and in 2009 Earlham presented Hamilton with the Outstanding Alumni Award.

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Earlham College, a national liberal arts college located in Richmond, Indiana, is a "College That Changes Lives." We expect our students to be fully present: to think rigorously, value directness and genuineness, and actively seek insights from differing perspectives. The values we practice at Earlham are rooted in centuries of Quaker tradition, but they also constitute the ideal toolkit for contemporary success. Earlham is one of only 40 national liberal arts colleges ranked among U.S. News and World Reports' "Great Schools at a Great Price."

Brian Zimmerman is director of media relations at Earlham College. He can be reached at 765-983-1256 and zimmebr@earlham.edu.

 

 

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