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Vidal Ashkenazi Awarded OBE for GNSS Role in Services to Science

vidal Ashkenazi OBE_jan17_web.jpgProfessor Vidal Ashkenazi OBE (Click image to enlarge.)
January 5, 2017

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Nottingham Scientific Ltd (NSL) has announced that the company’s founder and CEO, Professor Vidal Ashkenazi, has been named an officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE ) in the 2017 New Year's Honors List for “Services to Science.”

The OBE was created by King George V in 1917 and is awarded by the ruling monarch of the United Kingdom, currently Queen Elizabeth II. The honor recognizes distinguished service to the arts and sciences, public services outside the civil service, and work with charitable and welfare organizations.

From the earliest days of the GNSS industry, Ashkenazi has been involved with the geodetic aspects of positioning by using satellites. In 1976 he was invited by the U.S. National Geodetic Survey to assist with the development of geodetic coordinate systems, the framework that is still used today by satellite navigation (satnav) and mapping systems.

In the late 1990s, Ashkenazi became aware that, although GPS was designed and developed as a military system, its main advantage to the United States was economic. This was the message he delivered, when he was invited in 2003 to address the Industry, External Trade, Research, and Energy (ITRE) Committee of the European Parliament in Brussels, about the need for the European Union to have its own satellite navigation system. Europe's Galileo system entered into service in December 2016.

Speaking about his award, Ashkenazi said, “I am absolutely delighted to have been awarded an OBE. However, even more importantly, at long last this award recognizes the contribution of scientists and technologists to society in terms of satellite positioning, navigation, and timing.”

Professor Ashkenazi was an academic at the University of Nottingham from 1965 to 1998, and the founding director of the Institute of Engineering Surveying and Space Geodesy, one of the world’s leading space geodesy research institutes. He supervised around 50 doctoral (Ph.D.) students, many of whom now occupy senior positions in universities and industry around the world.

He has published several hundred papers in professional journals and acted as a consultant to a large number of government and commercial organizations in North and South America, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.

Ashkenazi, who has doctorates in philosophy and physical science from Oxford University, is a member of a large number of professional organizations, and has received distinction awards from several of them, most notably the Royal Institute of Navigation.

Following his academic career, Professor Ashkenazi founded Nottingham Scientific Ltd (NSL), to commercialize the innovation and expertise developed by Nottingham and other UK universities.

Vidal Ashkenazi is a recognized figure on the international scene of GNSS conferences and congresses, to which he is invited regularly either to deliver keynote presentations or to organize and chair roundtable panel discussions. He has served as a member of the Inside GNSS Editorial Advisory Council since the magazine’s founding in 2005.

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