GPS Only Exists Because Of Two People: Albert Einstein And Gladys West

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      eridani
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      https://medium.com/starts-with-a-bang/gps-only-exists-because-of-two-people-albert-einstein-and-gladys-west-58ee0fd53f1f

      But in order to enable all of this, a number of advances needed to occur. We had to construct mathematical models of the shape of the Earth, enabling us to understand how various points on our planet experienced gravity differently from one another. We had to develop methods for measuring altitude and translating those measurements into actual, accurate values for distance. We had to conduct radar altimetry to remotely sense Earth’s oceans, and again, translate that data into accurate values for altitude and distance.

      But in order to enable all of this, a number of advances needed to occur. We had to construct mathematical models of the shape of the Earth, enabling us to understand how various points on our planet experienced gravity differently from one another. We had to develop methods for measuring altitude and translating those measurements into actual, accurate values for distance. We had to conduct radar altimetry to remotely sense Earth’s oceans, and again, translate that data into accurate values for altitude and distance.

      It’s pretty rare to be able to mention another person’s name in the same breath as Albert Einstein unironically, but when it comes to the science of GPS, there is no one else more significant than Gladys West. When she was inducted into the Air Force Hall of Fame, Air Force Space Command recognized her as one of the Hidden Figures who performed vital computations for the United States military before the era of electronic systems. Praising her work, commanding officer Captain Godfrey Weekes lauded her as follows: “She rose through the ranks, worked on the satellite geodesy, and contributed to the accuracy of GPS and the measurement of satellite data. 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.”

      Despite the ubiquity of GPS and her role in developing it, West still prefers to use a paper map when she travels. For someone accustomed to trusting their own calculations, some old habits never die.

      Jesus: Hey, Dad? God: Yes, Son? Jesus: Western civilization followed me home. Can I keep it? God: Certainly not! And put it down this minute--you don't know where it's been! Tom Robbins in Another Roadside Attraction

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