Gladys West, Who Influenced GPS Technology, Inducted Into Air Force Hall Of Fame
After the triumphant arrival of the film Hidden Figures (2017), thousands of moviegoers were introduced to a group of black women who were instrumental in the United States of America’s initial foray into space. Now, another pivotal member of that group of forward-thinking mathematicians and scientists is up next to receive a momentous award.
According to WUSA9, Dr. Gladys West joined the Air Force Space and Missile Pioneers Hall of Fame earlier this month (Dec. 6), for her prowess in the STEM field. Throughout the 1960s, Dr. West broke ground with her achievements in astrophysics. Within her time working for the country’s Air Force, Dr. West also worked on a computer system that attempted to produce the most accurate coordinates for the base’s machinery. The technological advances served as the basis for the Global Positioning System or GPS.
Born in Dinwiddie County, Va., Dr. West used her education as her way to attain success and once she arrived at college, she majored in math which at the time was an area dominated by men, BBC reports. Once she started working for a naval base in Dahlgren, Va., Dr. West immersed herself in mathematical equations and problem solving that led to her achievements that are recognized today.
In March 2018, West was also honored by the Virginia Senate in Richmond for her accolades and skill set.