Dr Brad Parkinson HonFRIN, with 3 colleagues, has won the QEPrize for creating the first truly global satellite-based positioning system - GPS.
The QEPrize claims to be the world’s most prestigious engineering prize, celebrating engineers responsible for a ground-breaking innovation in engineering that has been of global benefit to humanity. Awarded every 2 years, the £1 million prize aims to raise the public profile of engineering and inspire young people to take up engineering challenges of the future.
The 2019 winners are Dr Bradford Parkinson, Prof James Spilker Jr, Hugo Fruehauf and Richard Schwartz. They were presented in London on 12 February by Lord Browne of Madingley, Chairman of the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering Foundation, in the presence of HRH The Princess Royal.
Bradford Parkinson was the chief architect of the innovative satnav system and is often called the ‘Father of GPS’, having successfully built upon several separate systems to create the current GPS design. He directed the programme and led the development, design and testing of its key components, insisting that GPS needed to be intuitive and inexpensive; this later made navigation accessible to billions.
His awardee colleagues were also vital for the development of GPS: James Spiker designed the signals and receivers, Hugo Freuhauf created the atomic clocks and Richard Schwartz produced the radiation-resistant satellites themselves.
Brad was awarded the Institute’s Harold Spencer-Jones Gold Medal in 1983; this is the Institute's highest award, given ‘in recognition of an outstanding contribution to navigation’. He remains an Honorary Fellow.
We pass Dr Parkinson our congratulations on this prestigious award.