I found a TI-85 calculator in the back of a drawer yesterday. In High School, these mini-computers could do all sorts of important tasks. Draw. Play Super Mario Brothers. Trade notes. If you had the time, you could also use the graphing functions, even do a few Trigonometry problem. After powering the beast up, I realized I forgot how to use it. Cut me a little slack, it’s been at least twenty years.
At the climax of Hidden Figures, Katherine Johnson has to check the IBM Mainframe’s math. This movie is outstanding on many levels. But I couldn’t help but wonder how many people on the planet could check that equation today? If we had to go back in time and replace the batteries in the TI-85, could we come up with the right answer?