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Dr. Gladys West, mathematician and woman behind GPS, inducted into Air Force Hall Of Fame

The "Hidden Figure" behind the Global Positioning System (GPS) and 87-year-old mathematician, Gladys West, has been inducted into the Air Force's Space and Missiles Pioneers Hall of Fame.

According to KSAT News, West is a graduate of Virginia State University. She joined the elite list of professionals recognized by the Air Force Space Command right before the year 2018 came to an end. According to a news release, West was present with one of the Air Force Space Command's highest honors 19 days before Christmas.

She was also publicly recognized for her work as a member of a team of all black female professionals who did computing for the U.S. military before electronic systems were even available to the public. West also excelled during the midst of the Jim Crow segregation and among an industry predominantly ran by white men. 

In 1956, she was hired as a mathematician at the U.S. Naval Weapons Laboratory where she developed ultimately what became the GPS orbit by programming an IBM 7030 "Stretch" computer that delivered pinpoint calculations on an Earth model. 

Dr. West is also known for participating in a path-breaking, award-winning astronomical study which proved, during the early 1960s, the regularity of Pluto's motion in relation to Neptune's 

To learn more about West's success, click here


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