US President Barack Obama awarded presidential medal of freedom, the country’s highest civilian honour to 21 eminent persons from various fields on 22 November. The Presidential Medal of Freedom is awarded to those who have made meritorious contributions “to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”
The recipients included scientists, philanthropists, public servants. activists, athletes, and artists. Among the awardees was Margaret H. Hamilton, an 80 year old woman, who led the team that helped code the software for Apollo missions which put man on the moon.
Ms Hamilton’s citation read as follows:
President Obama hailed Hamilton’s achievements and said “she symbolises that generation of unsung women who helped send humankind into space. Her software architecture echoes in countless technologies today, and her example speaks of the American spirit of discovery that exists in every little girl and little boy who know that somehow to look beyond the heavens is to look deep within ourselves and to figure out just what is possible ”
Hamilton was a working mother in the 1960s when she was employed at the MIT labs. A photo of her with the pile of code she helped write had gone viral when internet wasn’t in the vogue and computer science was still in infancy. The complete code was written by hand.
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