Electromagnetic fields

One of the "elect who live only a short time"

Heinrich Hert (Hamburg, February 22, 1857 – Bonn, January 1, 1894)

Heinrich Hertz, called Heins by his friends, is the man who proved the existence of electromagnetic waves for the first time in history. He was the first to generate radio waves and also to determine their length and speed.

He also showed that light and radio waves are of the same nature and have the same speed, namely 300,000 kilometers per second. This makes him the true founder of wireless telegraphy and radio.

But also television, communication via satellite and radar, you name it. He died very young so he didn't get to experience any of those uses.

Hertz was born in Hamburg in 1857. His father was a lawyer, also a senator of the city. He was of Jewish descent, but his grandfather had converted to the Lutheran faith much earlier. His mother was the daughter of a military doctor from Frankfurt.

Seven years after her son's death, she wrote down her memories of him in a short Message that are among the finest of their kind.

Young Heins was undoubtedly a child prodigy. At the age of three he could literally retell more than a hundred fables that his mother had read to him. Funnily enough, at the age of ten he was given a lathe as a gift and a craftsman taught him how to work with it.

His practical skills would later serve him well in his experiments
Perhaps he could also have turned to the literary side, for the work of Homer and Dante would accompany him throughout his life. After graduating from high school, he desperately searched for a purpose for his talents.

From Frankfurt, where he studied architecture for a year, he wrote to his parents: 'I study the Greek classics, I solve mathematical problems, I learn Arabic, I study physics and physiology, I do everything mixed up, just like a madman. '

He finally found the challenge he was looking for with a physicist in Berlin. In 1880, not yet 23 years old, Hertz graduated with highest distinction.

The professor asked him to become an assistant, but Hertz felt too restless: "I can devise more experiments in one day than I can carry out in one year," he wrote at the time.

After some wanderings, he ended up in 1885 at the Technical University of Karlsruhe. A year later he married Elisabeth Doll, the daughter of another teacher. Elisabeth helped Heins in his laboratory and she drew beautiful illustrations for his treatises.

The real discovery of the special waves took place between October 1886 and March 1888. On 17 March 1888 he wrote in his diary: 'I now have the pleasure of feeling almost on my own turf with my work. This is actually where the enjoyment of the research begins.

I am now alone with nature, without quarrels about human opinions, visions and demands.'

His results immediately caused a great sensation. Congratulations poured in from all over the world. The electromagnetic waves had long been predicted, but no one had succeeded in generating them visibly. More than ten universities offered the young scientist a chair.

After a lecture on his 32nd birthday – which included the great inventor Edison in the audience – the applause was so overwhelming and the shouting so loud, 'that I was really ashamed,' Elisabeth wrote.
Thinking that this was where he could work most peacefully, he chose the University of Bonn in 1889, although his peace was disturbed by the awards and honors that continued to pour in from all over the world. Three years later his life was over.

It started with a seemingly harmless cold that prevented him from teaching. “My nose is now my world,” he wrote happily to his parents. He started working on a book and wrote against the clock. One nose operation followed another.

In December 1893 he knew what time it was.

He wrote to his parents in Hamburg: 'If anything should happen to me, you must not grieve, you must only be proud, and think that I am one of the chosen ones who live only a short time, but who have lived enough. ' On January 1, 1894, Heins Hertz died of blood poisoning.

He was 37.
Marconi picked up his waves quickly. Later his name was attached to the unit of frequency, so that he is immortalized in commonly used words such as gigahertz and megahertz. Megahertz means that the electric field in the radio wave goes up and down a million times per second.

gigahertz a billion times.

(See also: radio)

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