A lot of people use GPS to help them get to where they’re going, but how many know about Gladys West, Ph.D., whose work was instrumental in creating GPS?
Dr. West, a mathematician born in 1930, was a member of the group of engineers that worked on and perfected the Global Positioning System in the 1950s and 1960s. Her mathematical contributions would prove integral to the accuracy and effectiveness of what we now know as GPS.
“She rose through the ranks, worked on the satellite geodesy (science that measures the size and shape of Earth) and contributed to the accuracy of GPS and the measurement of satellite data,” said Capt. Godfrey Weekes, a former officer at the Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division, in a message he wrote about Black History Month in 2017.
“As Gladys West started her career as a mathematician at Dahlgren in 1956, she likely had no idea that her work would impact the world for decades to come,” continued Capt. Weekes.
Featured Image Credit: Gladys West, U.S. Naval Surface Warfare Center, U.S. Navy.
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