Hidden Figures (feat. Joe Ruppel, History Nerd) : Episode 82

Get the movie:
iTunes | Amazon

Hidden Figures

What: The story of a team of African-American women mathematicians and their contributions to the early American space program.
Directed by:  Theodore Melfi
Starring: Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monáe, Kirsten Dunst,Kevin Costner, Aldis Hodge

Featuring guest co-host
Joe Ruppel PhotoJoe Ruppel, history nerd and our co-bff

Recommended and Related Media

Hidden Figures (the book) by Margot Lee Shetterly
Like the movie but minus the time compression, plus a ton more depth.
Read it with your eyes iTunes | Amazon
Read it with your ears iTunes

From the Earth to the Moon
Apparently actually kinda hard to find streaming, this is the dramatized portrayal of the Apollo manned space program. Joe is a big fan.
Get the thing Amazon

Apollo 13
The true story of the several disasters that befell the Apollo 13 mission and the heroism in response.
Stream it iTunes | Amazon

Show Notes

On voices

My guest appearance talking about this film on the podcast Voices From L5.

The women!

The movie mostly follows three incredible women in particular.


This got left out of the movie, but the history of NACA (National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics), then NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration), is an important part of the story.

Space Race

Existential threats. Intercontinental ballistic missiles and nuclear submarines obviating much of the interest in basing nuclear weapons in space. Dangerous beeps and boops.

Humans in Space

Yuri Gagarin was the first man in space. Alan Shepard. National and global heroes.

Space stuff is dangerous

Flight testing is really unsafe. Redstone rockets.

Space Competition

National competition in the day, feels to us more healthy and global-cooperative these days. For now. Until it gets cheaper and there are resources to fight over. 🙁

Computers, human and otherwise

Human computers. Adding machines. Early programmable computers. (Justified) trust issues with these new machines. IBM 7090. Fortran.

John Glenn

Joe’s favorite superhero. A totally amazing list of accomplishments even before the Mercury program. And then the only person to ride in both the Mercury and Shuttle programs.

Hats off

Appreciation for the people who pulled all of this stuff off, with special consideration for the women featured in the film.

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