On February 22 the 155th birthday of Heinrich Rudolf Hertz will be celebrated. Google is honoring his memory and accomplishments with an oscillating Google doodle.
Hertz was a German born scientist who is most well known for proving the existence of electromagnetic waves. A scientist named James Maxwell had theorized in 1873 that electromagnetic waves existed. In 1887 Hertz set out to prove this theory. He successfully built a device that would allow him to produce and detect radio waves. Basically he created an oscillator that would produce an electric spark and a receiver out of a looped wire with two spheres on the ends with a small gap between them. The oscillator induced a current in the receiving loop which sent sparks across the tiny gap. This was the first documented occurrence of electromagnetic waves being produced and received.
Unfortunately, Hertz would never fully realize the significance of his discovery. As a matter of fact, at the time of this experiment he thought there were no practical uses for the invisible radiation. If only he could see it now. He passed away from an illness at age 36. His amazing and brilliant life cut short however, his legacy lives on. That television you’re watching, the wireless handheld device that entertains you, these are all built on the research of Hertz. Once scientists figured out that electromagnetic waves existed, and that light was just a visible form of such, the field of electromagnetic theory would usher in the wireless age.
His accomplishments were recognized in 1930 by the IEC when they named the measurement of frequency “hertz”. This measurement measured cycles per second in electromagnetic waves. He also enjoys many other honors, including having a crater on the moon named after him.
Once again I am humbled by the incredible accomplishments of a man whose candle dimmed way too soon. Hopefully, this Google doodle and surrounding articles will do Mr. Hertz justice and bring honor to his memory.