The Black Women Whose Mathematics Made GPS Possible Is Honoured by The U.K.

  • Published by Pride Magazine on Friday 11th June 2021
Dr Gladys West (right) and colleagues working on satellite geodesy at Dahlgren in the 1980s
  • The Royal Academy of Engineering, founded by HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, 45 years ago this week at Buckingham Palace, has presented its highest individual award – the Prince Philip Medal – to Dr Gladys West, whose mathematical modelling paved the way for the engineering innovation of GPS. Dr West is the first woman to win the Prince Philip Medal in the 30 years since it was presented for the first time in 1991 to Air Commodore Sir Frank Whittle, wartime pioneer and inventor of the jet engine.
  • Accepting the award, Dr West says:
  • “It is hard for me to believe that I was a little black girl on the farm who had a dream to get off the farm, get educated, and make enough money to take care of myself. And now, I have realized my dreams and reached a height beyond what I anticipated.”


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