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Guglielmo Marconi (1874 – 1937)

Long distance radio transmission

Guglielmo Marconi’s contribution to the world was a radiotelegraph system, the Marconi Law, and the long distance radio transmission.

Born in Bologna Italy on the 25th of April 1874, Marconi was second of two children to an Italian landowner and his Irish wife.

He had a private education but was not a very good student, but he showed a lot of interest in science, especially electricity.

During the time that Marconi’s interest in electricity began to grow, another scientist Heinrich Hertz’s work became famous and had an effect on Marconi’s future.

Hertz’s work led him to find electromagnetic radiation, what we know today as radio waves. In the olden days, these waves were called ‘Hertzian waves”.

Marconi started reading Hertz’s work and studied under Augusto Righi a physicist who had studied a lot of Hertz’s work.

When he was 20 years, Marconi became fully involved in his experiments with radio waves because he believed that these waves could carry messages.

One night he woke his mother and asked her to come to his secret workshop to show her an experiment that laid the foundation for a future of communications.

He was able to make an electric bell ring with the press of a button. There were no wires; the bell received the sign to ring through radio waves.

Later he showed it to his father, who was so happy with his discovery that he gave Marconi money to improve his experiments.

Marconi later began transmitting messages over longer distances, first across his garden, and then around hills. His brother Alfango helped him with these experiments.

In 1898, at the age of 24 years Marconi made his first successful wireless transmission across water. This was a huge achievement.

He moved to London and there he formed the Wireless Telegraph Trading Signal Company, which was later renamed to Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company.

With about 50 people at the beginning, his company continued to expand and became the world’s first “wireless” factory in England.

A very important event occurred on the 12th of December 1901/1902 when Marconi was able to send the letter “S” in Morse code across the Atlantic Ocean.

Morse code is a type of telegraphic language of dots and dashes that represent numbers. Each number indicates a particular word.

When he was 33 years old, Marconi received the Nobel Prize for physics. He also received many honours and awards for his outstanding work in science.

As a tribute to his work different places, awards, books, plays, and stories have been named after him or have characters like him in them.

He played a very important role during the time that the giant ocean-liner the Titanic sank in April 1912.

The radio operators that were aboard the Titanic were employed by Marconi’s maritime communications company, and the they were able to send distress calls for help across the water because of Marconi’s great work in improving radio transmissions.

Besides being a scientist and an inventor, Marconi even joined politics and was made a Senator in the Italian Senate.

Marconi married and divorced twice and had four children from his two marriages.

On the 20th of July 1937, he suffered many heart attacks in Rome and died later on that day at the age of 63 years. He received a state funeral

In honour of his great service to humanity, and as a tribute to his life, all radio stations throughout the world observed 2 minutes of silence the next day.

Guglielmo Marconi changed the course of human history with his invention of the radiotelegraph because it is this technology that allows us to communicate with anyone across the world at any time.

An improvement on his inventions and discoveries allows us to enjoy internet radio as well as be updated on the latest happenings across the world through radio news broadcasts.