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Dr. Petr Vaníček

Dr. Petr Vaníček

University of New Brunswick


Dr. Petr Vaníček is a Czech Canadian geodesist and theoretical geophysicist who has made important breakthroughs in theory of spectral analysis and geoid computation. He received his degreein DrSc from the Czech Academy of Science. He is a Professor Emeritus from the University of New Brunswick. He initiated the establishing of the Canadian Geophysical Union in 1974, and served as the Union's president between 1986 and 1988. He was the first chairman of the United Nations committee for Geodetic Aspects of the Law of the Sea (GALOS), founded in Edinburgh, Scotland by the International Association of Geodesy (IAG) in 1989. His book Geodesy: The Concepts, now translated into several languages, is a standard text for both undergraduate and graduate courses in geodesy worldwide. He also served as Editor-in-Chief and a reviewer for several scientific journals as well as on numerous scientific boards and committees. One of his main contributions of general relevance is least-squares spectral analysis, also called the Vaníček method, a frequency spectrum computation method published in 1969 and 1971. The method is based on a least-squares fit of sinusoids to the data samples, and mitigates the drawbacks of applying Fourier analysis for analyzing long incomplete data records such as most natural datasets. His discoveries in theoretical geophysics, the "precise geoid solution" in particular, enable millimetre-to-centimetre accuracy in geoid computation, an-order-of-magnitude improvement from previous solutions. He was awarded the J. Tuzo Wilson Medal in 1996 for outstanding contributions to Canadian geophysics. He is a fellow of the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics, of the American Geophysical Union, and of the Czechoslovak Society of Arts and Sciences (SVU). He was the first Canadian awarded the Senior Distinguished Scientist Fellowship by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, and was a Senior Visiting Scientist with the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. Over the course of his career, he taught or performed research at universities and labs across six continents, including the Royal Institute of Technology and the USGS.

Research Interest

Geodesy & Geophysics