Francis Everitt Awarded the Austrian Cross of Honour for Science and Art, First Class

bridges vol. 30, July 2011 / Noteworthy Information

Prof. Everitt and Ambassador Prosl

On May 4, 2011, Francis Everitt, professor at the Hansen Experimental Physics Laboratory of Stanford University and principal investigator of the Gravity Probe B (GP-B) Mission, was awarded the Austrian Cross of Honour for Science and Art, First Class. The award was presented by the Austrian Ambassador to the United States, Christian Prosl, at his residence in Washington, DC. The ceremony was attended by approximately 60 invited guests, including a number of current and former GP-B team members from Stanford, NASA, and Lockheed Martin.

{access view=guest}Access to the full article is free, but requires you to register. Registration is simple and quick - all we need is your name and a valid e-mail address. We appreciate your interest in bridges.{/access} {access view=!guest}GP-B was developed by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center and Stanford University to test Einstein's Theory of General Relativity. Einstein's theory predicts that space and time are distorted by the presence of massive objects. GP-B was a satellite-based mission with the aim of measuring space-time curvature near the Earth. This provided a test of general relativity, gravitomagnetism, and related models.

From an Austrian point of view, the experiment had enormous significance because of its relation to two Austrian scientists. In 1918, just two years after Albert Einstein published his theory of general relativity, Austrian physicist Hans Thirring and Austrian mathematician Josef Lense predicted the so-called "Lense-Thirring effect" or "frame-dragging effect" as a corollary to relativity. While there have been a few other indirect measurements of frame dragging, GP-B is the first experiment to make a direct, controlled test of this effect.

Cross of Honour for Science and Art, First Class

The Austrian Cross of Honour for Science and Art was established to honor scientific or artistic achievements and is awarded as "Cross of Honour, First Class" and "Cross of Honour" by the Federal President of Austria on the recommendation of the Austrian Government.

For further information about Gravity Probe B, please visit:

For further information about the Lense-Thirring or frame-dragging effect, please visit: