Time, Space, Gravity & Navigation
“Position and Time” are basic aspects of our everyday lives and fundamental concepts of physics that are interconnected by Einstein’s Theory of Relativity and inseparably linked to mass and gravity. The concepts of space and time are key to our understanding of the universe and are of critical importance for our modern technology. Understanding space-time and gravity are key to unraveling the mysteries of “dark matter” and “dark energy” that comprise most of our universe.
Advanced Position Navigation and Time (PNT) systems ultimately rely upon precise Time derived from quantum transitions in simple atoms, and Position information that is derived from the constant speed of light (microwaves, RF). Research on PNT at Stanford spans from the fundamental atomic physics related to atomic clocks and atom-interferometric inertial sensors to GPS-GNSS science and technology, government policy related to PNT, and information security for critical navigation systems. PNT applications are ubiquitous and essential for modern technology: phones, cars, planes, financial systems, communication networks, information security, geosciences and environmental monitoring, city planning and infrastructure, animal population monitoring and agriculture, crime prevention, and many others. It is difficult to overstate the impact of PNT on modern world and economy, and Stanford plays a key role in the future of PNT. This includes the Stanford Center for Position Navigation and Time (SCPNT) that brings together faculty from Physics and Engineering (Aero Astro, EE, ME), with broader contacts to Computer Science, SLAC, Earth and Environmental Sciences and Biology.