2019 Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering laureate Professor James Spilker, Jr, an American engineer renowned for his pioneering work on the Global Positioning System (GPS), has died aged 86.
With his key contributions to the development – and subsequent enhancement – of GPS, it would be hard to exaggerate the profound impact of Professor Spilker’s work. Today, over four billion people around the world benefit from his efforts, and myriad applications stemming from his work are intricately woven into the fabric of daily life. In addition to promoting GPS technologies, Spilker also focused on education and philanthropy throughout his career, donating much of his time and money to the improvement of engineering education and the fields of aeronautics and astronautics.
Lord Browne, Chairman of the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering Foundation said: “The engineering community is deeply saddened by the death of Professor James Spilker, Jr. Jim exemplified the profound impact that an engineer can have on the world and encouraged the next generation to live up to that potential.
On Wednesday 28 August, the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering exhibited a new, interactive activity at the Science Museum Lates in London. Visitors had the chance to take part in a GPS-inspired scavenger hunt around the museum, using engineering skills to navigate to hidden checkpoints and win prizes.
The key to finding the checkpoints was trilateration – the process used by GPS satellites to pinpoint locations. When finding a location on a sat nav or Google Maps, satellites send out signals to the receiving device, e.g. a phone, on Earth. If you know what time a signal left a satellite and reached the phone, the distance from the satellite to the phone can be calculated. Data from four satellites is combined to find the location of the phone. Imagine a spherical radius around each satellite – the receiver location is where the four spheres intersect.
QEPrize winners Hugo Fruehauf and Bradford Parkinson recently appeared on BBC Inside Science to discuss their incredible, world-changing innovation: the Global Positioning System. Both engineers made a crucial contribution to the development of the revolutionary system, which opened up navigation to people all around the world. In February 2019, Bradford and Hugo, along with Richard Schwartz and James Spilker, Jr, were awarded the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering for their pivotal roles in creating GPS.
2015 Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering winner, Dr Robert Langer, recently spoke with Health Europa about his introduction to bioengineering, his work on large molecule drug delivery, and the progression and impact of bioengineering in recent decades. The below article has been republished with permission.
As this week is European Week Against Cancer (EWAC), we speak to Dr Robert Langer, the first person to engineer polymers to advance drug delivery, treating many diseases such as cancer.
Introducing Dr Langer, the ground-breaking chemical engineer who has been awarded the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering for his revolutionary advances in engineering. Langer was named as one of the 25 most important individuals in biotechnology by Forbes Magazine and CNN (1999) and Bio World (1990), and as one of the 100 most important people – ‘America’s Best’ – by Time magazine (2001). In light of European Week Against Cancer, Langer talks to Health Europa about the evolving environment of biotechnology, utilising large molecule-controlled drug delivery, treating diseases such as cancer and the future of his research.
QEPrize winner Dr Robert Langer has recently been selected as one of the five 2018 US Science Envoys. In his new position, he will focus on novel approaches in biomaterials, drug delivery systems, nanotechnology, tissue engineering, and the U.S. approach to research commercialization.
Science envoys are critical to strengthening bilateral science and technology relationships in the US, engaging with international audiences at all levels, and advancing policy objectives — such as increasing the number of women in science and advocating for science-based decision making.
Dr Langer was awarded the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering for his revolutionary advances and leadership in engineering at the interface with chemistry and medicine. The technologies that his lab created have improved the lives of over two billion people around the world.
Given his recent appointment, we asked Dr Langer for his opinion of the top five areas in biomedical engineering ‘to watch’, as well as his thoughts on the potential for international collaboration.
Dr Vinton Cerf was one of the recipients of the inaugural QEPrize, taking the accolade in 2013 for his part in creating the Internet. He was awarded the prize alongside Dr Robert Kahn, Louis Pouzin, Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Marc Andreessen, whose work gave rise to the fundamental architecture of the internet, the World Wide Web and the browser. We caught up with Cerf, who is now vice president and Chief Internet Evangelist for Google, to find out what his team has been working on since he received the prize.
On 7th December last year, the 2017 QEPrize winners joined TV presenter LJ Rich, along with biomedical imaging specialist Alison Noble and ESA engineer Vinita Marwaha Madill, to discuss the past, present and future of digital imaging sensors at the Science Museum.
The panellists explored the creation of the digital imaging sensor, as well as current and future applications in space and biomedical imaging. Watch the video to find out more!
Sample photo taken with the Quanta Image Sensor. It is a binary single-photon image, so if the pixel was hit by one or more photons, it is white; if not, it is black.
QEPrize winner Eric Fossum, together with engineers from Dartmouth’s Thayer School of Engineering, has produced a new imaging technology that may revolutionise medical and life sciences research, security, photography and cinematography.
The new technology is called the Quanta Image Sensor, or QIS. It will enable highly sensitive, more easily manipulated and higher quality digital imaging than is currently available. The sensor can reliably capture and count single photons, generating a resolution as high as one megapixel, as fast as thousands of frames per second. Plus, the QIS can accomplish this in low light, at room temperature, using mainstream image sensor technology. Previous technology required large pixels, low temperatures or both.