Radio waves are the waves having the longest wavelength in the electromagnetic spectrum. They have the frequency in the range between about 104 and 1011 hertz. In this field of study, one of the major contributors is Heinrich Rudolf Hertz, a German physicist who was the first to prove the existence of electromagnetic waves as predicted by James Clerk Maxwell. But unfortunately, Maxwell wasn’t alive till then to see the proof of his greatest discovery that light is an electromagnetic wave. Before Maxwell, it was demonstrated earlier by David Edward Hughes using non-rigorous trial and error procedures.
Hertz performed the experiment by making the engineering instruments transmit and receive radio pulses. He did it by enacting experimental procedures that ruled out any other wireless phenomena.
Hertz also introduced the concept of the similarity of the nature of radio waves’ reflection and refraction with those of light. Hence, he proved that light is indeed an electromagnetic wave. His demonstrations depict phenomena like reflection, refraction, interference, polarization and velocity of electric waves.
Electricity really fascinated Hertz as can be surmised from his own quotes in which he had cited that the domain of electricity extend over the whole of nature. He had the conception that every phenomenon occurring in the existing universe is a centre of electrical disturbances. This thing can be deciphered from the citation of his where he had opined that even if a body isn’t luminous, if it radiates heat, then it’s a centre of electrical disturbances.
Hertz and His Breakthrough Experiment:
The apparatuses used by Hertz in his experiments were an induction coil and Leydan Jar (the original capacitor) for the production of electromagnetic waves. He also wanted to create a spark gap between two spheres of brass to detect them. There occurred some difficulties in seeing the gaps, so he had to perform the experiment in total darkness. Later, the speed of radio waves that he created could be calculated and he found out the speed to be c, which is equal to the speed of light in free space.
Commercialization of Radio Waves by Marconi:
Guglielmo Marconi was an Italian physicist whose outstanding contribution in commercializing radio waves had transformed the wireless communication system all over the world. Radio became a new norm for communication for military forces and submarines and other areas. Marconi is known as the father of long distance radio transmission. He shared the Nobel Prize for physics in 1909 with German electrical engineer and inventor Karl Ferdinand Braun for their contribution to the enhancement of wireless telegraphy.
Marconi’s biggest asset was he made the radio communication a huge success commercially as many investigators have tried their hands on wireless telegraphy for over 50 years at that time, but none was as commercially successful as Marconi was. The interesting thing about him was he actually didn’t discover anything new, yet he did so by enhancing some already existing components, giving them a bit of an update, and assembled and adapted them to his own system.
In the beginning, he didn’t even get funding for his experiments in his own country, Italy. But later he got the funding in England. In his first demonstration for the English government, Marconi made a transmission of Morse code signals over a distance of 3.7 miles across the Salisbury Plain. Gradually, Marconi gained recognition at the international level and the radio communication became a huge hit. Perseverance played a huge role in Marconi’s success as he didn’t give up after his own nation refused to give him funding. Well, that is quite inspirational.
Explanation By Som Abhisek and Follow him for updates.
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Author: Som Abhisek.