Judith Love Cohen worked on the Hubble Space Telescope. (NASA)

‘Learn to be a lady’: How Judith Love Cohen defied expectations and helped design the Hubble Space Telescope

Pictured below is Judith Love Cohen, a pioneering aerospace engineer, posing with a satellite at Space Technology Laboratories in Redondo Beach in 1959.

Look magazine

Gifted in math from a young age, Cohen recalled a high school counselor once telling her, “You know, Judy, I think you ought to go to a nice finishing school and learn to be a lady.” Instead, she earned engineering degrees at USC in the late 1950s and early 1960s without ever meeting another female engineering student. Her career included roles working on the Apollo space program and the Hubble Space Telescope. In retirement, she published popular children’s books that encouraged young girls to pursue science.

In a remembrance of Cohen, who died in July of 2016, one her sons recounted how, when going into labor with her fourth child, she grabbed a computer printout of a problem she was working on and brought it to the hospital. “Later that day,” Neil Siegel wrote, “she called her boss and told him that she had solved the problem. And … oh, yes, the baby was born, too.”

The newborn’s name: Jack Black, who inherited his mother’s tenacity even if he channeled it in a very different direction.

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