Heinrich Rudolf Hertz

Here we listed out important facts about famous scientist Heinrich Rudolf Hertz, with his Biography, Profile, Facts, Timeline, Awards, Achievement, etc.,

Born: 22 February 1857, Hamburg, Germany
Died: 1 January 1894, Bonn, Germany
Nationality: German
Fields: Physics, Electronic Engineering
Education: Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Technical University of Munich, Humboldt University of Berlin
Known for: Electromagnetic radiation, Photoelectric effect, Hertz’s principle of least curvature
Notable awards: Matteucci Medal (1888), Rumford Medal (1890)

  • Heinrich Rudolf Hertz was born on 22 February, 1857, in Hamburg.
  • His father Dr. jur. Gustav Ferdianand Hertz was Jweish, who had converted to Christianity.
  • He was an advocate in Hamburg, then Oberland-segerichtsrat, and from 1887 Senator and head of the administration of justice. His mother Anna Elisabeth, nee Pfefferkorn, was the daughter of the Frankfurt doctor, Dr. Pfefferkorn.
  • He showed an early interest in the natural sciences, and a practical skill in building physics equipment in the family workshop. He was also an enthusiastic linguist, learning Arabic and Sanskrit.
  • He had decided on an academic and scientific career rather than one in engineering, and in 1878 chose to continue his studies at the University of Berlin under Gustav Kirchhoff and Hermann von Helmhotz, the foremost physicists of the time.
  • Hertz obtained his Ph.D. degree magna cum laude in 1880 with a thesis on the electromagnetic induction in rotating spheres and continued as Helmholt’s assistant for a further three years.
  • In 1883 Hertz became a lecture in theoretical physics at the University of Keil. With no laboratory facilities at Kiel he had considered more theoretical aspects of Physics.
  • Here he began his studies of the recent electromagnetic theory of James Clerk Maxwell. Maxwell’s theory had been based Unusual mechanical ideas about the aluminiferous ether and had not been universally accepted.
  • In 1884, Hertz rederived Maxwell’s equations by a new method, casting them in modern from without assumption of ether.
  • In 1885, at the age of 28, Heinrich Hertz was appointed professor of physics at the Karlsruhe University .
  • In 1886 Hertz married Elizabeth Doll, daughter of a Karlsruhe professor; they had two daughters.
  • In 1888, in corner of his physics classroom at the Karlsruhe Polytechnic in Berlin, Hertz generated electric waves using an electric circuit; the circuit contained a metal rod that had a small gap at its midpoint, and when sparks crossed this gap violent oscillations of high frequency were set up in the rod.
  • Hertz proved that these waves were transmitted through air by detecting them with another similar circuit some distance away. He also showed that like light waves they were reflected and refracted and, most important, that they traveled at the same speed as light but had a much longer wavelength.
  • He found that nonconductors allow most of the waves to pass through. These waves, originally called Hertzian waves but now known as radio waves, conclusively confirmed Maxwell’s prediction on the existence of electromagnetic waves, both in the form of light and radio waves.
  • Summing up Hertz experiment importance-his experiments dealing with the reflection, refraction, polarization, interference and velocity of electric waves would trigger the invention, soon after, of the wireless telegraph, radio, television, and radar.
  • A young man in his teens happened to read the article while he was vacationing in the Alps. For him, Hertz’s discovery gave him an idea-why not use the waves set off by Hertz’s spark oscillator for signaling?  Gulielmo Marconi was that young man.   He rushed back home to Italy to give the idea a try.
  • On April 3, 1889, Heinrich arrived in Bonn to take the position of Professor of Physics and Director of the Physics Institute as successor to Rudolf Clausius (1822-1888).
  • Hertz became the superstar of the physics community, not merely in Germany but throughout the world of science.
  • His theoretical studies in mechanics, Hertz performed research on the discharge of electricity in rarefied! gases.
  • Hertz also continued his analysis of Maxwell’s theory, publishing two papers in 1890.
  • His experimental and theoretical work put the field of electrodynamics on a much firmer footing.
  • His scientific papers were translated into English and published in three volumes-Electric Waves (1893), Miscellaneous Papers (1896), and Principles of Mechanic 1892. Heinrich Hertz died of blood poisoning on 1 January, 1894 in Bonn, when not quite 37.
  • His tragic early death occurred after several years of poor health and cut short a brilliant career. He is buried in the Jewish cemetery in Ohlsdorf, Hamburg, Germany.

Heinrich Rudolf Hertz

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