Christine Darden American mathematician, data analyst, and aeronautical engineer NASA (retired)


Christine Darden (born September 10, 1942, as Christine Mann) is an American mathematician, data analyst, and aeronautical engineer who devoted much of her 40-year career in aerodynamics at NASA to researching supersonic flight and sonic booms. She had an M.S. in mathematics and had been teaching at Virginia State University before starting to work at the Langley Research Center in 1967. She earned a PhD in engineering at George Washington University in 1983 and has published numerous articles in her field. She was the first African-American woman at NASA's Langley Research Center to be promoted into the Senior Executive Service, the top rank in the federal civil service.

Darden is one of the researchers featured in the book Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race (2016), a history of some of the most influential African-American women mathematicians and engineers at NASA in the mid-20th century, by Margot Lee Shetterly.

In 2019, Darden was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal.