Summer is a time for fun in the sun, for vacations, hobbies and taking a step back from the usual business of the industry. In this podcast series, we check in on what people in the industry are doing this summer, what they're thinking about for the fall as they head out on vacation and what they're planning to do to when they return to make a better satellite world. The second episode of the 2021 Summer Fun series features a conversation between SSPI Director of Development and Innovation Lou Zacharilla and Dr. Gladys West, retired mathematician and 2021 inductee to the Space & Satellite Hall of Fame. Lou checks in with both Dr. West and her daughter Carolyn about their summer plans and invites them to go surfing with him.
Dr. Gladys West served as a mathematician at the Naval Proving Ground (now the Naval Surface Warfare Center) in Dahlgren, VA for forty-two years before her retirement in 1998. During her long career, she led a multi-year project that created a mathematical model of unprecedented accuracy of the shape of Earth, which proved to be a critical building block in the development of Global Positioning by Satellite. In 1956, she became the second-ever black woman hired to work at the Naval Proving Ground in Dahlgren, VA. She initially served as a programmer in the Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division for large-scale computers and also as project manager for data-processing systems used in the analysis of satellite data. During this time, she also earned her second Masters degree from the University of Oklahoma, this time in Public Administration. In the early 1960s, Dr. West worked on an award-winning astronomical study that demonstrated the regularity of Pluto's motion relative to Neptune. Her work on the astronomical study led Dr. West to begin analyzing data from satellites to put together altimeter-based models of Earth's shape. Learn more about Dr. West.
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