"Over the span of a single lifetime, the world has changed in ways that would
have been virtually unimaginable in the first half of the 20th century. Two
major breakthroughs that occurred in physics — relativity and quantum physics —
suddenly made a number of previously unthinkable endeavors possible. From
modern electronics to computers, smart phones, the internet, brain imaging and
more, everyday life in 2021 is vastly different from what it was back when many
of us were first born.
One of those technologies that’s been revolutionary for our society is GPS: the
Global Positioning System. From anywhere in the world, signals can be
transmitted by a network of medium-Earth orbit satellites to wherever your
location is, pinpointing your position to an accuracy of better than 1 meter (3
feet) more than 95% of the time. Devices with the latest (L5) receivers,
released in 2018, are capable of reliably determining your location to within
30 centimeters (12 inches).
Unbeknownst to most people, however, the science underlying this technology was
primarily developed by two people: Albert Einstein, whose theories of special
and general relativity both play an important role, and Gladys West, a
still-living and largely unheralded Black woman whose scientific contributions
enabled us to understand geodesy and the shape of the Earth well enough to make
GPS technology possible. Here’s the science behind why this “hidden figure” of
GPS is invaluable."
Via Kevin O'Brien.
Share and enjoy,
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics