The Earth’s shape

How often do you use the GPS? The mathematician Gladys West programmed a computer to precisely modelled the Earth’s shape using satellite data. The program was taught how to interpret Earth’s forces like gravity and tides.

This mathematical model, and particularly Gladys West’s contribution, were crucial for the subsequent global positioning system (GPS).

After a successful 42-year career in the U.S. Navy, including leading the radar altimetry project of the Seasat (the first satellite to monitor oceans), Gladys West gained a PhD in public administration and policy affairs, at the age of 70.

Written by: Enriqueta Vallejo-Yagüe.