Saturday, April 15, 2023 · 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. · Aerospace Engineering Sciences Building

Penina Axelrad, Distinguished Professor, Aerospace Engineering Sciences  

Produced by the Office for Outreach and Engagement and the Research and Innovation Office

Guided and self-guided tours of the Aerospace Engineering Sciences Building will be available Noon - 12:45 and 2:30 - 3:15 p.m.

The Global Positioning System (GPS), fully operational since 1995, has redefined what it means to navigate in the world. GPS receivers serve to guide airplanes, Uber drivers, tractors and satellites. GPS timing synchronizes power grids, telecommunications networks and bank transactions. GPS is also essential in scientific measurements of the motion of ice sheets, variations in Earth’s gravity field, and atmospheric conditions used in numerical weather prediction.  

How is it that a system, originally intended to support worldwide military operations, has created such broad-reaching benefits?  Professor Penina Axelrad’s CU on the Weekend presentation will describe the “HOW.”  That is, how GPS works and how its key technical elements came together with serendipitous parallel developments to have an unprecedented impact on our daily lives and scientific discovery.  She will also discuss threats to GPS utility and the evolving landscape of global navigation satellite system capabilities.

Penina Axelrod headshotPenina Axelrad is a University of Colorado Distinguished Professor and Joseph T. Negler Professor of Aerospace Engineering Sciences (AES) at the University of Colorado Boulder.  She has been involved in GPS research since 1985, primarily focused on its space applications.  Her research interests include space domain awareness, technology and algorithms for position, navigation, and timing in space, airborne, marine, and land environments, and remote sensing using GPS-based reflectometry.  Professor Axelrad is a Member of the National Academy of Engineering and a Fellow of the Institute of Navigation (ION) and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). Additional honors include the Lawrence Sperry Award (1996) from the AIAA; Samuel Burka Award (2011) and Johannes Kepler Award (2009) from the ION; Women In Aerospace Educator Award (2015); and University of Colorado Excellence in Leadership Award (2017).