Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Hey Marconi - Can You Hear Me Now?

Today, Dec. 12 1901, Guglielmo Marconi sent the first Atlantic wireless transmission. His message, which was the Morse-code signal for the letter "s", traveled more than 2,000 miles from Poldhu in Cornwall, England, to Newfoundland, Canada.

The transatlantic transmission won him worldwide fame. Ironically, critics of his project were correct when they said that radio waves would not follow the curvature of the earth, as Marconi believed. What really happened was that the transatlantic radio signal had been headed into space when it was reflected off the ionosphere and bounced back down toward Canada. Of course this was the start of something big!

Marconi continued to make major advances in this field of study. On the day of his funeral, in 1937, all of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) stations were silent for two minutes. It was a fitting tribute to Marconi's contributions to the development of radio.

Think of him today when you are listening to the car radio or adjusting your BlueTooth headset. Can you imagine what he'd say if he saw what communication is like now?