DCS: judith love cohen

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Judith Cohen was as smart as a whip. By the time she was in fifth grade, her classmates were paying her to do their math homework. Inspired by her natural ability with numbers, Judith set her sights on becoming a math teacher. She entered Brooklyn College on a math scholarship, but soon switched her major to engineering. While she was a student, she danced with the  Metropolitan Opera Ballet company.

After completing two years at Brooklyn College, Judith married and moved to California, continuing her studies at USC at night, while working  as a junior engineer for North American Aviation. She earned a bachelor’s degree and eventually a master’s degree in 1962.

As an engineer at Space Technology Laboratories (later TRW), Judith worked on the guidance computer for the Minuteman missile and the Abort-Guidance System in the Apollo Lunar Module. The Abort-Guidance System played an important role in the safe return of  the troubled Apollo 13 after an oxygen tank explosion left the Service Module crippled. Fearing for their lives, astronauts were able to use the Lunar Module as a makeshift “lifeboat,” The Abort-Guidance System guiding the craft home to safety.

In 1969, Judith was working on a particularly puzzling problem with a schematic. She pored over her work, even taking a computer printout of the issue home with her. Judith was pregnant and expected to give birth at any moment. Undaunted, she worked diligently on the problem, finally calling her boss to report good news. She had solved the problem at hand and was now going into the delivery room. She gave birth on August 28, 1969 — to future actor/musician Jack Black.

With a career and family as a source of pride, Judith passed away in 2016, at the age of 82.



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