Guglielmo Marconi Biography

Guglielmo Marconi was an Italian electrical engineer and winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1909, known for the development of a wireless telegraphy (T.S.H.) or radiotelegraphy system.

Marconi is considered the father of the radio and wireless telecommunications for having a patented the radio for the first time on June 2, 1896, although in only one country and using for its realization 14 patents of Nikola Tesla (true inventor of radio).Guglielmo Marconi

After Marconi patented the radio, this paternity was disputed by several inventors.

Some countries such as France or Russia refused to recognize the patent for such an invention, referring to Alexander Popov’s previously published publications.

Speech made by Guglielmo Marconi on the occasion of the unveiling of the ‘Fisk Memorial’ at Wahroonga, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia on 14 December 1935.

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Guglielmo Marconi

(Bologna, 1874 – Rome, 1937) Italian physicist and inventor to whom the invention of the wireless radio or telegraphy is attributed.

Son of an Italian father and Irish mother, he studied in Liorna and later at the Universities of Bologna and Florence, where he became fond of experiments with Hertzian electromagnetic waves, named after Heinrich Hertz, who had discovered their propagation in space in 1887.

Towards 1894 he began to investigate the transmission and reception of electromagnetic waves at his father’s house in Bologna, gradually increasing the distance between transmitter and receiver from 30 centimeters to hundreds of meters.

In 1895 he discovered that by placing a Hertz spark generator on top of a rod, the reception range could be increased to several kilometers.

He built a small apparatus, with a range of 2.5 kilometers, consisting of an emitter, a Hertz spark generator and a receiver based on the effect discovered by the French engineer Édouard Branly in 1890.

The United Kingdom

In view of the scant interest aroused by his apparatus in the Italian authorities, Marconi opted to go to the United Kingdom.

In July 1896, after a series of improvements, he patented the invention, which caused a certain uproar among the scientific community of the time.

The discovery of radio does not cease to be involved in a certain controversy. The Russian physicist Aleksandr Popov presented that same year.

Before a large audience of scientists from the University of St. Petersburg, a radio wave receiver very similar to Marconi’s, which he used to record thunderstorms.

The demonstration was carried out days before Marconi got the patent of his apparatus, and for that reason, the Russians claim since then the paternity of the invention.

However, it seems proven that Marconi carried out the transmission of intelligible signals in the days before Popov’s demonstration, although not in front of an audience of scientists.

Wireless Telegraph

That same year he joined forces with his cousin, engineer Jameson Davis, and founded the Wireless Telegraph and Signal Company, Ltd., initially aimed at raising awareness of the device and obtaining financial support for testing and improving its operation.

Later the company’s objectives would be derived towards the commercial exploitation of the radio, and its name was transformed, around 1900, into Marconi’s Wireless Telegraph Company, Ltd.

Marconi and Davis gradually increased the range of the emissions by mounting the spark generators on balloons and making improvements in the design of the antenna, until in 1899 they managed to cross the sixteen kilometers separating the British islands from the mainland.

A year later, a radio station mounted on a British navy ship made contact with a land station 121 kilometers away.

The definitive launch of this communication system was the equipping of two American boats to transmit the results of a race to New York newspapers, a fact that gave Marconi considerable publicity and led to the foundation of the subsidiary American Marconi Company.

The development of tuning meant the possibility of making various communications using different frequencies and led to the famous patent No. 7.777, which would end up losing to Nikola Tesla, Oliver Joseph Lodge, and J. Stone.

The 300 kilometers

In 1901 he made a communication between San Juan de Terranova and Poldhu, in Cornwall, across the Atlantic.

What astonished the scientific world again, because it was a widespread opinion among scientists of a greater shaft that the transmission of radio signals could not exceed 300 kilometers away due to the curvature of the earth.

Later experiments by Marconi showed that the range of the transmission was greater at night than during the day.

What came to show that radio waves were reflected in the upper layers of the atmosphere: the incidence of solar radiation ionizes these layers, which better absorb radio waves.

In 1909 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics ex aequo with Karl Ferdinand Braun, the latter for his work with the cathode ray rectifier tube.

In 1910 it achieved a range of 6,000 nautical miles (more than 11,000 kilometers) between a ship and the coast. A year later, when he went to open a radio station in Coltano, he suffered a car accident that caused the loss of an eye.

Other Discovery

Marconi’s next discovery was the use of short wavelength waves, which are much better reflected in the ionosphere and allow a considerable reduction in transmitting power without any loss of range.

The use of short waves enabled England to communicate with the colonies, particularly South Africa, Australia, and India.

In order to perform all relevant tests, he made his yacht Elettra his private laboratory.

In 1914 he was elected senator for life in his country, and in 1919 he was appointed Italy’s plenipotentiary delegate to the Paris peace talks that followed World War I and sealed agreements with Austria and Bulgaria.

He was nominated Marquis in 1929 and one years later president of the Royal Academy of Italy. He died of a heart attack after a visit to Pope Pius XI; national mourning was declared in the country.

Among the works he published are La telegrafía senza fili (1903) and La radiocommunications a fascio (1928).

In addition to numerous research works published in the scientific journals of the time, among which the prestigious Proceedings of the Royal Society stand out.

Who was the real inventor of the radio?

Nikola Tesla (1856-1943) is said to have invented the 20th century. We owe him the following inventions:

  1. The radio.
  2. The coils for the alternating current generator.
  3. The spark plugs.
  4. The alternator.
  5. The remote control

Likewise, other discoveries that have made life easier. However, the general public does not know this Serbian genius born in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, who on top of that had to see how another man received the Nobel Prize for one of his inventions.

Tesla’s scientific talent was as great as his clumsiness when it came to practicality: he invented the radio in 1895, but the Italian Marconi – who used a Tesla oscillator to transmit signals across the ocean – filed the patent in 1904 and in 1909 won the Nobel Prize.

In 1943, the U.S. Supreme Court recognized Tesla’s merit and returned the patent to him.

Internation Marconi Day Celebrated with Live Transmissions from Coast Guard Beach

In 1901 at Poldhu, on Cornwall’s Lizard peninsula, Guglielmo Marconi made the landmark worlds first transatlantic radio broadcast. Sending a faint “s s s” in Morse code to Signal Hill in St. Johns, Newfoundland.

Every year on Marconi’s birthday (25th April) Radio Amateurs around the world radio into Poldhu Marconi Center to connect with volunteers at the birthplace of modern telecommunications.

Curiosities about Guglielmo Marconi

  1. Guglielmo Marconi was the inventor of wireless telegraphy.
  2. The Titanic disaster in 1912 gave the wireless network greater recognition. Those who survived were rescued by ships that had received the call for help from the sinking ship.
  3. Guglielmo Marconi was born on April 25, 1874, in Bologna, Italy, to an Italian father and an Irish mother.
  4. When Marconi was 16, he managed to prove his theory that an electric current can pass through most substances without difficulty.
  5. Guglielmo Marconi was only 20 years old when he had the idea of sending signals by means of electromagnetic waves.
  6. Marconi won the Nobel Prize in Physics (1909) and many other honors.

In 1922, Marconi foresaw the development of radar. He found that radio waves are reflected in metal objects, and suggested that they could be used to detect the presence of ships in the fog, even if the ships did not have a radio.

Guglielmo Marconi invented radio tuning, which allowed many different stations to be on the air without interfering with each other.

The famous British patent No. 7777 was granted to this tuning system. Marconi died on July 20, 1937 (at age 63).

A great book I recommend is this.


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