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Science student discovers what the experts missed

If a GPS system leads you astray, Connor Flynn (BSc'19, MSc’21) may be able to tell you why it happened.

Connor was a biochemistry major in the faculty of science at UNB Fredericton when he was offered a summer job by his first-year physics professor, Dr. P.T. Jayachandran. Over the next three summers, Connor studied GPS signals as part of Dr. Jayachandran’s leading research in the Canadian High Arctic Ionospheric Network, funded by the Canadian Space Agency.

GPS signals come from satellites and enable everything from the GPS tracker in your phone to aviation navigation. It was well known that distance and weather can interfere with satellite signals. Connor showed that these signals can also interfere with each other, causing errors.

Major discovery. Changes in technology.

Dr. Jayachandran called Connor’s discovery “a breakthrough:” it was nicknamed the “Connor effect;” he was listed as principal investigator on a paper published in a major academic journal, GPS Solutions; and he presented his findings at the American Geophysical Union in Washington, D.C. His discovery is expected to help make GPS technology more accurate.

UNB committed to hands-on learning

UNB prides itself on giving students at every level the opportunity to participate in research projects in fields from science and engineering to arts and social sciences. These opportunities can give you valuable work experience, a chance to contribute to a body of knowledge — maybe even make a major discovery — and a leg up in building a career.