Skip to main content Skip to secondary navigation

Bradford Parkinson

Main content start

Bradford Parkinson — GPS chief architect


Bradford Parkinson is chief architect of the now-ubiquitous Global Positioning System (GPS), which he led as a U.S. Air Force colonel in 1973.

Parkinson received his PhD from Stanford in 1966 and became a professor here in 1984. His pioneering work at as a Stanford professor included GPS for aviation and other applications, including the Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) used by the FAA. More recently, he led the NASA/Stanford Gravity Probe B program that validated Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity to an unprecedented accuracy.

Parkinson is co-editor and author of the best-selling textbook “Global Positioning System: Theory and Applications.” He is a Stanford Engineering Professor Emeritus of Aeronautics and Astronomics.