Did a Russian Physicist Invent Radio?

It is said that “success has many fathers, but failure is an orphan.” Given the world-changing success of radio in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, it’s no wonder that so many scientists, physicists, and engineers have been credited with its invention. The fact that electromagnetic radiation is a natural phenomenon that no one can reasonably claim to have invented sometimes seems lost in the shuffle to claim the prize.

But it was exactly through the study of natural phenomena that one of the earliest pioneers in radio research came to have a reasonable claim to at least be the inventor of the radio receiver, well before anyone had learned how to reliably produce electromagnetic waves. This is the story of how a Russian physicist harnessed the power of lightning and became one of the many fathers of radio.

alexander_stepanovich_popov
Alexander Popov. Source: Wikipedia (public domain)

Alexander Stepanovich Popov was born in 1859 in the Ural mountain mining town of Krasnoturyinsk. Expected to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a priest, he instead chose to study the natural sciences and enrolled in the St. Petersburg University in the physics department.

After graduating and winning an appointment as an instructor at the Imperial Russian Navy’s Torpedo School in 1883, he turned his attention to electrical phenomena. The late 19th century was an exciting time in electrical research, when James Clerk Maxwell’s elegant equations predicting electromagnetic waves were just starting to be explored. It was a time when great minds like Heinrich Hertz, Oliver Lodge, and J.C. Bose were all working with the latest tools and instruments to probe the mysteries of Maxwell’s work.

The primary tool for detecting radio waves at the time was the coherer. Invented by Lodge based on the observation by Edouard Branley that powdered metal could conduct electricity after being exposed to electromagnetic waves, the coherer was a simple tube filled with iron filings between two electrodes. Initially, the resistance across the electrodes was relatively high thanks to the loosely packed powder and oxide coatings on each grain. A passing radio wave would cause the grains to almost weld together — sometimes sparks were reported coming from the coherer tube — which lowered the resistance enough to conduct electricity. Lodge had used his coherer to detect “Hertzian waves” in 1894, shortly after the death of their namesake.

The world's first radio receiver. Source: ITU News
The world’s first radio receiver. Source: ITU News

In his Naval School lab, Popov read of Lodge’s discovery and decided to explore it further. Being of a naval bent, he was concerned with the weather and atmospheric phenomena, and wondered whether a coherer could detect the electromagnetic signature of lightning. He set about building his own coherer, improving the design by building in an automatic decoherer.

A coherer is a one-shot device: once it detects a signal, it needs to be mechanically restored to the high resistance state by tapping to release the adhered metal granules. Popov’s decoherer was cleverly coupled to the bell used to signal a detected wave; once the clapper had struck the bell it would spring back to rest after tapping the coherer tube to jostle its contents.

Another Popov innovation was the addition of a pair of chokes on either side of the coherer to prevent strong AC signals from coupling with the DC circuits of the detector. Popov is also credited with the first legitimate radio antenna — he connected a long wire antenna to the coherer and, critically, attached the other end of the coherer to an earth ground.

On May 7th, 1895, Popov demonstrated his “storm indicator” to the Russian Physical and Chemical Society. How exactly he got Mother Nature to cooperate and produce a detectable lightning bolt during the demonstration isn’t clear; we can only assume a spark gap was used to simulate lightning for the gathered scholars. Popov did perform more experiments later that summer and managed to detect lightning some 20 miles distant, though, and managed to improve the world’s first radio receiver.

The potential value of his invention was not lost on him. He ended a paper written in early 1896 with a prediction that his receiver would form half of a complete wireless communication system “if only a source of such vibrations [radio waves] can be found possessing sufficient energy.” A few months later in March he had succeeded in doing just that with a transmitter powerful enough to reach his receiver 800 feet away. Unfortunately for Popov, Guglielmo Marconi had been working along similar lines and in June 1896 filed a patent for his radiotelegraph system. Lacking any documentation of his March demonstration, Popov could only protest Marconi’s claims and carry on.

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Battleship General-admiral Apraksin, whose crew was rescued using Popov’s wireless. Source: Wikipedia (public domain)

Popov’s naval employers took interest in his system and allowed him to start experimenting with ship-to-shore communications. By 1900 he had established a wireless station on an island in the Gulf of Finland that would process hundreds of official ship-to-shore messages and play key roles in the rescue of a stranded battleship and later fifty fishermen adrift on an ice floe.

It would seem that although Marconi was first to patent and will always be remembered as “The Father of Radio,” Popov played a critical role in the engineering of radio. He demonstrated the first receiver, developed the decoherer, invented the first practical antenna, probably conducted the world’s first wireless communication, and certainly used radio for the first time in a sea rescue. That’s a fair number of firsts in a time when they were being racked up at a furious pace, and not a bad legacy to leave. Nor are the fact that May 7th is celebrated as Radio Day in Russia, and that the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has a huge conference room in their Geneva headquarters named after him.

118 thoughts on “Did a Russian Physicist Invent Radio?

        1. Interestingly it was Edison who helped made what we call Hollywood a west coast rather than a New York thing and also made it so Jewish. Antisemitic, elephant murdering, and a big invention robbing rent seeker he got the state of New York to allow him to license all movie cameras. He wouldn’t license many [insert negative stereotype] Jews so if they wanted to shoot they went out of state with grey market cameras, many to California where he didn’t hold much sway with law enforcement and the state house. The American inventor of patent trolling actually hired snipers to shoot and destroy movie cameras.

          1. LOL at
            asdfTheThird says:
            January 9, 2017 at 7:18 pm
            None of that sounds remotely real.

            Big tobacco covered up for years that smoking kills
            Tuskegee Syphilis Legacy
            Watergate
            Ford fire cover-ups which plague some of their models today.
            Apple NDA related to deaths payouts etc.
            Pablo escobar would you have even believed that if you were told about it without the investigations.

            If someone can get away with it and make money from it someone will

    1. “Sure, every Russian knows that – Popov invented radio :)” True or otherwise, this sure sounds like something Star Trek’s Chekov would say. (classic ~1969 version – the cannon version where Vulcan has a continued existence and Spock has a place to return to every seven years)

  1. Not to diminish Popov’s contributions but as it is the case in most major scientific discoveries and major inventions, there are always many that were working in the field with various degrees of success and (more importantly) exposure. Who was “first” is generally more of a concern of national pride than historical record. Marconi’s real contribution was that he was an aristocrat and for that reason alone, his claims were taken seriously by those in the investment community who were needed to take this field to the next level, but he was part of a community of inventors – not a lone genius.

    1. To be fully honest, Hertz made a first practical demonstration, based on Maxwell predictions. After that it was just a matter of trial and error. Tesla, Marconi, Popov, Bose, and many others built upon this. There was a lot of copying involved on all sides.

      1. This is the problem whenever the domains of science and technology intersect and that is sorting out who was observing and who was inventing and frankly it is a huge grey zone in most cases. Like I wrote above, who was first, is a question that is more a question of national pride than hard history and is ultimately a bit of a sterile one.

        1. Some is that. Some is people’s sense of fairness, because history has examples of being born into the wrong social class, color, or gender being a hindrance when it comes to recognition.

          1. Clearly that was the case here. Like I wrote above Marconi was able to leverage his social class to be taken seriously even when his Transatlantic demonstration may (given modern understanding) might have been somewhat questionable.

      2. Everyone stands on the shoulders of giants and much like evolution there are many paths that branch out with parallel success. I’m a Tesla fan but I’ve had to temper that with reality. I was never a big Marconi fan, however he made the first real gains with long distance RF utilizing the far-field effect (versus the near-field effect which was relatively easy to utilize at that time) so he certainly made genuine contributions to engineering and science.

        Another thing to think about, the spark gap was the Arduino of the late 1800’s. Every scientist, engineer, and backyard tinkerer built one to play with. Some effectively made an led blink and called it day. Others like Hertz discovered that his spark gap could induce sparks across the room with close pieces of metal when it triggered. Utilizing his existing knowledge of the properties of light he mapped out the properties of these invisible energy waves and connected them to Maxwell’s theoretical work with electromagnetism (The “Maxwell Set”, of which, Maxwell’s work was built on top of Gauss’s work mapping out the properties of Magnetism, etc. etc.). If he had lived a normal life-span he would have come to see how revolutionary his work was despite being a purely intelectual pursuit.

        Popov was no slouch, however he also subscribed to the science journals of the day and was quick to reproduce documented work. This takes a solid ability, but the dates of his work coincide with general publications of spark gap radio transmitters coming onto the scene.

        1. You have to hand it to Marconi, though, for figuring out how to commercialize radio. He took the technology and built a profitable organization around it, selling the service of radio communication instead of the hardware.

      3. Technically that is the whole point of peer-reviewed science. There is a lot to learn in the early years of an new technical discovery or invention. If radio never progressed beyond their early inventions, only a few of us would have a radio.

        The other point is that a desk top demo is cool, but the person who places 50 of them in boxes and sell them will probably be the one remembered. Keep in mind the article on the Wright Brothers. Their flier I was followed by Flier II, and then Flier III. They kept at it. It was not a one-off demo.

        1. No, in the West you listen to relentless media drumbeat about the evil Russians and Chinese (and Iranians, and N. Koreans, and Snowden, and Assange, and … whoever does not follow the US government drumbeat). While the 1% are busy emptying everyone’s pockets. “But, but … those evil Russians!”

  2. During my university time I found at our library a rusian tech radio book ( I dont remember if translated to spanish or english, and also I am not sure if was write aroung late 60s or 70s) and was very interesting discover that only speak about Popov , any reference to Marcony and few to Hertz or Brandely …

    History depends of who write it, right!?

    73!

      1. @sonofthunder – Да (Yes). OTOH, we always admitted Hertz and Maxwell contributions as first. Only among the uneducated in our nation you can hear the nonsense that Tesla invented electricity etc. Simplifications always find an easy path to weak minds. However for practical radio development, US Supreme Court has ruled that Tesla is the inventor of radio. Also, AFAIK, first remote radio control demo was done by Tesla on that R/C boat in New York. All this counts for something, I hope you will agree.

      1. TheRegnirps – Bravo! However, I’ve seen his lab notes when he was in Colorado Springs destroying their archaic power grid. Most of his equations were essentially gibberish. He would use the Greek symbol lowercase Omega to represent resistance. It was well known even then that particular symbol was meant for angular momentum. Omega was meant for Ohms. So he ran around his shack measuring air resistance and put it into some arguably puerile understanding of the subject matter. And he tried to use that to corroborate what misinformed people today claim was his early discovery of the Schumann Resonance.

        Then onto the infamous TeslaScope.This is where among the reports from Schiaperrelli, The London Royal Observatory, and Lowell that active artificial Martian canals (or channels) were being eye witnessed via telescope, this led Tesla to believe that he could communicate with the alleged inhabitants with his device which I’m sure he had equations for too. However, despite possible signs of schizophrenia, he claimed to have made first contact (one-way) with them. Albeit, the communications were inexplicably reported by him to be in Morse Code!

        Suffice it to say, Marconi was also transmitting in Morse Code during the same time period. But what most people today don’t seem to understand is that USA was sending Morse Code for decades before Tesla via long lines (conductors) that passed right through his Colorado Springs area. So I posit that he was ear witnessing the inducted electrical leakage off of those long wires and he mistook it for first contact.

        I find it amazing how he invented so many things before their time yet had a puerile understanding of it all. His remote control warship at MSG NYC was otherworldly and almost unbelievable that a college drop out and believer in Hindu mysticism could invent such a modern sophisticated thing. Now it turns out the USN and Israelis (et al) just invented just such a war-craft after the USG totally rejecting it 100+ years ago.

        It’s now disturbing to view his voluminous FBI (aka BOI) file. It turns out that Hoover was investigating him for helping the Germans with enemy warship propulsion inventions and even radio telegraphy from Long Island NY German spies back to Germany. Arguably the first wireless transmissions for the start of WW1 originated from this Telefunken station in NY for which he helped to build. No wonder why POTUS ordered the USN destruction of his other station at Wardencliff (at Shoreham NY). Tesla’s ostensible excuse was revenge for the total rejection of his way-too-early war defense ideas by USG. Essentially he had also arguably invented DEW weapons we are just coming up to speed on today!.

    1. Where there’s no doubt Tesla’s designs were superior to Marconi’s, Marconi was able to actually sell and support his designs. He won a contract for the wireless sets for the US Navy purely because he was also a salesman whereas Tesla just wanted to sell you the radio without explanation and then for you to go away.

      1. No doubt ver true. However, it is sad that out of an act of Tesla’s angst and revenge against USA, his 1st wireless commercial exploit was to our enemies. Here’s an excerpt from a report:

        History > The Telefunken / Sayville Wireless

        Long Island Wireless Historical Society

        Built in 1911-12 by the Telefunken Communications Company of Germany, the West Sayville facility, north of the railroad tracks, west of Cherry Avenue became one of the, if not the most powerful wireless station of world war 1.

        Two major messages were hustled out of the station in code the first to waiting submarines at sea that spelled out the location of the Lusitania and the second from German Foreign Minister Zimmermann to Mexico asking that country to attack the United States and divert them from the European war. This last, when decoded by the British and forwarded to President Wilson brought this country into the war.

        What a claim to fame is that? Tesla was no hero of USA. He also supplied water turbine propulsion unit blueprints to the Kaiser for those waiting submarines. Took money for it too. All because we rejected his cockamamie toy war-boat and his directed energy weapon. We just were not ready for it in 1890’s! We are now but he gets no credit and rightly so. Let Elon Musk do it as he is just as cockamamie as Tesla was, with his self-driving cars.

    1. No less than the supreme court ruled iin 1941 that Tesla predated Marconi by no less than three years. From what I’ve read he also predated the Russian by a couple. If I’m not in error Tesla demonstrated wireless before the Royal Society in 1893. These are recorded facts.

  3. To anyone really interested in how inventions are being made, there is a great book by Bob Seidensticker dispelling many myths and legends, titled “Future Hype: The Myths of Technology Change”. Highly recommended.

    1. And the BBC series Connections that ran over three decades, plus the other Burke series How the World Changed.

      If you’re more inclined to watch video than read. Point being that invention is also a product of circumstances, and many things we don’t think as inventions at all are in fact crucial points to later getting something else right. Culture and art for example. In the style of the program: cubist artists invented military camouflage, helped win the WW2, and inspired Benoit Mandelbrot, who in turn produced computer programs that visualized Fractals, which kicked up a whole bunch of other inventions and that produced your cellphone’s antenna.

        1. Even as a kid, that show bugged me. It was obvious he was spinning a yarn and not really giving a coherent picture. Every episode made it sound like the invention of XYZ was the result of a 13-way bank shot. In fact, every one of those links in the chain had many other links, not just the one the Burke gives.

          1. I doubt we watch an 120-hour show following just one technical development. However, I think the entire idea was our modern technology rests on prior developments from many other fields, and it was not just a simple, linear chain.

  4. Does the American Dr. Mahlon Loomis’ contribution to wireless telegraphy in 1866 trump all other claims? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahlon_Loomis

    Notice that he was the first to achieve wireless communications between two ships in Chesapeake Bay separated by 2-miles. This was BEFORE Marconi was even born. In 1864 he conceived the idea while Maxwell was presenting his discoveries in London and 1866 actually achieved an 18-mile path. Also US Congress temporarily funded and allowed him to demonstrate it in Washington DC with a small 10-mile wireless network of telegraphers. It was recognized and approved by the POTUS. Hertz demonstrated his discovery upon Dr. Loomis’ death. Dr. Loomis was experimenting with Gauss’ Morse, and Franklin’s discoveries. Tesla was still a teenager then too. Popov was 7-years old when Loomis first tested his revolutionary idea.

    The venture failed as during this time the USA 19th century venture capitalist thieves abounded during this time period like Edison et al and it had no where to go with those patent-stealing vultures of the day. The Chicago fire did not help either. So his idea died with him in 1886.

    1. The problem with Loomis is that his theory of the phenomenon was incorrect – he was claiming to conduct current through the ionized layers of the atmosphere as if through a wire – so while his experiments may have worked by accident he just didn’t understand how or why.

      That means he didn’t invent the radio – he merely observed the phenomenon and made the wrong inference. He might as well have explained it as magic and pixie dust.

      1. Dax I agree that Loomis was no Hertz or Maxwell – despite the fact that he predated both men. He was a dentist that stumbled onto something inexplicable much like Tesla and Marconi did. Even today’s inventors sometimes can not be credited for FULLY understanding their own inventions. They seem to understand how their inventions empirically work but not the deep science behind it.

        I mean the true co-inventor of the atomic bomb concept was a Austrian-Swedish woman. She had a strong grasp for the nature of how it worked but we see today she and her male partners were just babes in the woods. However, I posit that humans are not quite there yet even today. I would argue that not even Einstein was correct about some of his vaunted theories. But that’s for another subject thread.

        The salient point about Loomis is that the US Congress and the POTUS (Grant) were convinced it was a new tool to be exploited one day soon by USA and other nations suddenly at war with each other. A little late for the Civil War but it did come in handy for WW1 and maybe even earlier during Spanish-American war (See Spain’s Julio Cervera Baviera). Julio borrowed the idea from Marconi’s arguably derivative radio idea.

        So I guess I’m saying INVENTOR is a subjective term. You can be “first”, but it doesn’t mean you really grasp the science behind it. Example: Edison and Tesla. Hertz and Maxwell were very brilliant men, but arguably they were not FIRST. Loomis was inspired by Ben Franklin, Samuel Morse, and Carl Friedrich Gauss.I think the first one with a working prototype (sans understanding) is the true pioneer. We can clearly see by the bill US HR 772 and US Patent 129,971 that Loomis was clearly “first”.

        1. Many firearms have been invented by people who do not know how gunpowder works, or why steel is strong, or how brass deforms under impact, or why flint and steel make sparks.

          1. TheRegnirps – I must say I’m embarrassed to say I couldn’t explain that either. Reminds me of the vaunted Dr Richard Feynman who could never explain simple magnetic attraction to a simple laymen. However, he wasn’t alone. No one can. It’s not easy when you don’t even understand it yourself. Same goes for gravity.

          2. Good point, the basic nature of the electron & atom were not understood until the early 20th century. So there were working blind, so to speak. We still don’t grasp basic physics yet, nevertheless, we can still hammer out messages to each other using microprocessors and fiber optic networks that require a decent understanding of physics to design and build. And our grandchildren will laugh at our level of technology. That is, unless someone unleashes an EMP weapon.

      2. I can see how his misconception would mean he does not get any credit for discovering scientific phenomena. If his device worked though then it is an invention so he should get credit for that. Invention and discovery are not the same thing.

        1. @Me – Correct. The only reason Loomis got no credit for it because other so-called “scientists” like Edison, also posted the SAME patent after Loomis did. And also Loomis lost a lot of his papers in the Chicago fire. Why his papers were there is a mystery to me. He was in Wash. DC and was from NY. So a comedy of errors and outright I.P. theft is what caused him to loose credit for the first wireless transmission.

          His final gadget was actually RADIO towers (antenna), telegraph keys, batteries, and galvanometers. President Grant loved it as he had seen the usefulness of the landline telegraph during the Civil War. Loomis’ gadget could not be cut or sabotaged easily. Of course he had no clue how it worked but it worked.

          I do not think Loomis’ achievement falls under national pride as it actually happened. Popov may have done what he said but he admits his work was derivative. So Russian national pride has nothing to do with it. Does everyone know the TELEVISION can be credited to a Russian? Now I’m an American who does not care for Russian politics, yet I have to hand it to Vladimir Zworykin (a Russian born American engineer). Yes Russia got a lot of ideas from NAZI Germany and USA. And 20th century Germany got a lot of their modern ideas from USA too (seed ideas which they evolved further). We got ideas from NAZI Germany too which we are still trying to back-engineer. But that’s what everybody does… they get inspiration from each other.

          No one can argue that the Russians were the first in manned space missions. It happened, it’s documented by USA!

      3. Don’t confuse invention with correctly describing the working of a device, those two are fully separate things. It is possible to invent something with no understanding how it works and it is possible to understand a phenomenon and have no idea how to create a device using that.

    2. “The venture failed as during this time the USA 19th century venture capitalist thieves abounded during this time period like Edison et al and it had no where to go with those patent-stealing vultures of the day.”

      The above sentence is gibberish. Loomis’s tech didn’t work over long distances. Marconi’s did.

  5. For quite a long time I used to get upset if anyone wouldn’t agree that Nikola Tesla invented the radio, but I must say that Dr Heinrich Rudolph Hertz is the true original inventor of radio apparatus. All the rest, Tesla included, many brilliant engineers throughout the world, were followers, greatly improving upon Dr. Hertz’s original work, extending its usefulness and utility.

      1. Possibly because the operator was too close to the sparker and wanted help from the guy at the receiver. I had the thought when I pulled the plug wire off a mower that refused to stop with the throttle in the ‘off’ position.

  6. It’s only the general population that thinks Marconi invented radio. It’s the same way people think Steve Jobs designed the original Apple computer, a bit if knowledge that is garbled.

    I can’t remember at which point I knew the history of radio, by 12 at least, probably earlier. Radio was a lab curiosity, nobody really knew what to do with it. Marconi came along and took what existed and showed a practical use. Even then, it took time to come up with applications. It took time.

    Michael

  7. Yeah, another Russian guy, stole the idea of someone else, and then tried to copy it, and failed.
    Just look up all the russians “inventors” and the history of them all, all is stolen technology from Germans and other better engineers at the time.

    1. TK-421 – Yeah I’m still baffled by this South American Catholic Priest. I can not understand how his technical education evolved so drastically to predate EVERYONE with his so-called modern inventions. How he got the Vatican to pull some strings for him to get patents in his home country and even USA is baffling. When I was examining his inventions on the Internet, I was scratching my head as it sounds like he actually got them to work in South America. Then I looked at the dates and my jaw dropped! WTF is going on here? There’s no way this clever clergyman beat everyone else to these modern inventions. It’s going to take some more intense backgrounding on him to see if he was just a clever con-man or was something otherworldly miracle-stuff going on with him.

        1. Ostracus – That reminds me of the time-traveler who went back to his late best friend to warn him that he had only 24-hours to live. But he had some trouble getting the mission right and it was only 1-way and only once. When he finally found his deceased friend in the past he delivered the fateful message. The thankful friend was grateful for the message. However, the time traveler told him, I miscalculated and I have been looking for you all day since yesterday! D’oh!!

      1. This is the gadget he alleged to have invented LONG before anyone else and demonstrated it to the Brazilian government:

        It allegedly had a Bell Photo Phone in it, a Marconi wireless in it,and maybe some pixie dust I don’t know. The Brazilians and the Americans fell for it for some reason. But the hard part to understand from his patents is that he conceived all of this BEFORE the actual inventors! But how?

        I guess when he returned to Brazil the government wanted nothing more to do with him and his gadget. There’s no information as to why this was. Maybe they uncovered his con-artistry? I wish we Americans did that last year… too late… Jan 20th is only a few days away… sigh…

          1. Based on Einstein’s and Hubble work a priest named Georges Lemaître’s developed a theory he called the singularity. Was a proponent of a steady state universe who coined the term “big bang”.

    1. Yeah… that’s what the photo of the box I posted up there was supposed to be. A radio transmitter he allegedly invented before the actual inventors did. I don’t see where he invented a receiver. I actually think he made up the whole thing as the Brazilian government just dumped him when he returned from America with his 3 bogus patents. Back then you could bribe anybody in the patent office. No explanation.

    1. No it was 1898 and Jakub had dabbled in Kirilian Photography (electrical imprints of your hands on film emulsion). He tried to explain it to the French Science Society as “telegraphy without wires”. However, he could not explain any of it to them so they rejected it as “radio”. Not even close to wireless telegraphy. Plus 1898 is a little late in the game to take credit for a wireless telegraphy.

      1. It was 1891, Vienna, a Ruhmkorff coil with a doublet and his lightning detector. Yes it wasn’t a telegraphy but he was mentioned by Société française des électriciens in Dec 1898 among others, next to Oliver Lodge. I don’t insist on knowing the truth.
        I bet the radio was invented in China 3000 years ago, approximately the same time as soccer and hamburgers.

    1. This was already discussed up there somewhere. There is no way this Catholic Priest with little to no technical formal education beat all the renown scientists of the day to wireless telegraphy, fiber optics communications, free space optical communications, VOICE over radio technology before it was REALLY invented. The one mistake in his arguable scam is that there is no receiver mechanism. He only shows a transmitter. And his patents totally overlook the technical nature of voice modulation over a spark-gap transmitter and line of sight FSO Communications obstacles. As if he had no clue what he was talking about. Plus why are reporters and government officials watching a live demonstration a credible argument? Google The Turk (a chess playing robot in the 18th century) to show how gullible people really are.

  8. You didn’t even talk about Tesla….. who in 1895 was about to transmit a signal 50 miles to West Point, but due to a building fire in Tesla’s lab all his work was destroyed.

  9. why is everyone so focussed on crediting milestones in inventions to certain people/nations?
    mankind evolved technology. if it was popov, telephonikov, hertz, etc. doesn’t play a big role, if they didn’t come up with it someone else would have.

  10. It is interesting to live between Russia and USA. A man has to laugh when hearing fights between them. Radio wasn’t invented by Popov, Marcony or Herz. It was invented by Jára Cimrman.

    1. Living here in America, I know how full of shit my country can be. One has to wonder why it is that Russia never set foot on the moon. Or anybody else for that matter. Just cause we say we went, it doesn’t bar others from going and planting their own flags.

      The technology back then has been surpassed by common calculators today, so what stopped Russia from going? Probably the same things preventing everyone else. Seriously, sooner or later the truth has to come out. We can’t just lie forever.. lol

  11. If he did good luck getting that established given how NATO and the American media have washed over the world.. How’s that McDonalds?

    Sounds like another Tesla or Turing story..

    1. This isn’t the proper forum to discuss politics so I’ll just focus on the last sentence: I can understand mentioning Tesla (though much of the material available about him is strongly skewed to be positive) but why Turing? He is credited for multiple things, is well known in computer science circles (and others too) and haven’t had any invention hi-jacked.

      1. He was chemically castrated by the UK government, banned by the US government from entry, and died of specific poisoning that was very popular with the KGB and GCHQ at the time and immediately cremated post-private-GCHQ-autopsy. British police raided and wrecked his home on a weekly bases even while he was sick and in bed..

        GCHQ also legally restricted all his work do to suspecting him of being a KGB spy which is the cause of the weekly raids.

        No politics on HAD? I’ve seen plenty of contradictions to that but the most recent was a “iron curtain” post by a polish author..

          1. Seriously? All of that is in every documentary and book, and even that recent movie.. Ranging from critical to censored..

            Of course I wasn’t there working with him or living close at the time..

          2. xorpunk – Why would anyone want TURING dead? He killed himself. I believe it was (in his mind at least) to rejoin with his late boyfriend Christopher. I also don’t view the GCHQ as murderers. They are the equivalent to our NSA (also not killers). Turing worked for/with GCHQ during WW2. Also the side effects of his anti-libido drug may have been suicidal tendencies much like our pharmaceuticals today. If anything Kim Philby was trying to cultivate him for KGB before Kim was caught, not kill him. The Americans loved his work and wanted to copy it.

          3. America banned him from entry and his home was raided almost weekly up till his death.. It’s *only* in every book, movie, wikipedia entry, and first-person witness account..

  12. from a practical point of view, it doesn’t matter who the first person to invent something is if they don’t share the invention so that others can use it (which could include selling it without telling others how to make ti)

    1000 people could invent something at home that is useful only to them, but if the 1001st person lets others know that it is possible, either by selling devices that do it or by telling others how to do it, then that 1001st person deserves the credit.

    1. IMHO that’s a very naïve view of how things work or alternatively an extremely capitalistic view of how things should work. There were no Internet back in those days we are discussing and just letting others know could take a lot of money and time. Also why isn’t it possible to credit both the inventor and the promoter?

      1. That was the case with JC BOSE. He did not believe in the capitalistic model and only wanted to share his ideas with friends and colleagues. He arguably invented a wireless bell-ringing device via 60 GHz long before any of them. And 60 GHz is a mind-blowing frequency for is time. The next best thing to Internet back then was white papers to scholarly magazines, newspapers, and public science conferences. That’s where many of his ideas were IP (intellectual property) stolen. And Marconi (et-al or and-others) may have been one of them.

    1. Yes that would be the Photo Phone which is the precursor to today’s FSO devices. If only he knew how valuable his invention was he would have put more thought into it. They had glass fibers back then but didn’t put 2 + 2 together in their minds. But leave it to Carl Zeiss to evolve Bell’s Photo Phone into a true WW2 field FSO device for submarine (Uboat) captains and tank commanders in the field to have totally secret and unjammable infrared voice and/or Morse Code comms and the Allies were totally unaware of it for awhile. More secret than Enigma. It was called Lichtsprechgerät 80/80 or just Li Spr 80.

      There was also the first Video Phone from Liepzig Germany 120-miles to Berlin in 1936!
      goo . gl / 32M6f5 (take out the spaces)

  13. Yeah. I’m pretty sure it was a German physicist. “Heinrich Hertz”. Tesla was smart, but he didn’t believe in radio waves at that time. At least not in a traditional/meaningful sense. Marconi & Edison were both hacks. History is always tainted by men who take credit for others shit

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