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Duration:02:59
Uploaded:2017-01-28
Last sync:2019-06-13 18:40
In the radio race, one inventor came out ahead while the other was overshadowed. Michael Aranda goes into the history of the radio and the many people who contributed to make the tool we use every day.

Hosted by: Michael Aranda
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Sources:
http://techin.oureverydaylife.com/satellites-use-radio-waves-18345.html
http://www.physics.org/article-questions.asp?id=82
http://computer.howstuffworks.com/wireless-network1.htm
http://motherboard.vice.com/blog/this-is-what-wi-fi-would-look-like-if-we-could-see-it
https://www.princeton.edu/ssp/joseph-henry-project/henry-radio/
https://www.google.com/patents/US613809
http://www.pbs.org/tesla/ins/lab_remotec.html
http://www.pbs.org/tesla/ll/ll_whoradio.html
http://www.biography.com/people/guglielmo-marconi-9398611#groundbreaking-work-and-nobel-prize
https://www.britannica.com/biography/Joseph-Henry
http://www.princeton.edu/ssp/joseph-henry-project/oscillatory-discharge/Henry_Gluckman_oscillatory.pdf
http://www.ccrane.com/Tesla-Not-Marconi-Invented-Radio
Images:
Marconi: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Guglielmo_Marconi_1901_wireless_signal.jpg
Marconi Portrait: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Guglielmo_Marconi.jpg
Tesla: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tesla_circa_1890.jpeg
Oersted Statue: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hans_Christian_Oersted_statue.jpg
Faraday: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Faraday-Millikan-Gale-1913.jpg
Joseph Henry: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Joseph_Henry_-_Brady-Handy.jpg
Tesla Coils: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tesla_Colorado_Springs_lab-12_million_volts.jpg
Tesla Remote-Controlled Boat: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tesla_boat1.jpg
There are probably lots of thing in your life that use radio waves, like your car and your cell phone. And there are radio waves passing through you all the time. For something that we use so much, you'd think we'd know who invented it. But the story behind the invention of radio is kind of complicated. 

Often, Guglielmo Marconi gets all the credit. He sent the first transatlantic radio message in 1901 and won the 1909 Nobel Prize for his inventions. But, you'll hear a lot of people argue that it was actually Nikola Tesla who invented the radio. He was just overshadowed, as usual, by people who were better at making money. 

The idea of sending messages without wires stretches back decades before Marconi or Tesla, to the early 1800s and the experiments of physicists like Hans Christian Oersted and Michael Faraday. Oersted figures out that an electric current created a magnetic field, and a few years later Faraday discovered that moving magnets can make currents move through nearby wires, even if the two aren't touching. 

This is called electromagnetic induction, and it's basically how all modern power plants work. Then, Joseph Henry discovered that a flash of lightning can move a compass needle from 13 kilometers away, proving once again that big groups of moving electric charges can  create powerful magnetic fields. By the late 1800s, scientists knew that the moving electric charges could create specific type of long-wavelength light that we know today as radio waves. 

The next big breakthroughs came from our old friend Nikola Tesla. In the 1890s, he passed alternating current through a big coil of wire in a version of his now famous Tesla coils. The current made a changing magnetic field around the coil, which in turn made an electric current in another nearby coil of wire. Tesla realized that the coils would send out strong radio waves if the timed the currents just right, and he could get those radio waves to travel as far as 50 kilometers. 

He got a whole bunch of patents for his inventions, and even showed off his new technology with the first-ever remote-controlled boat. But Tesla never sent any messages with his radio waves. His main interest was in wireless power, instead of wireless communication. Then, in 1895, as he was setting up his laboratory to send a message 80 kilometers away to West Point, a fire in the lab stopped his progress, and stopped any hope of him getting credit for inventing radio waves as a way of communicating. 

Because at the same time, an Italian inventor named Guglielmo Marconi had been working on the same problem. And in 1901, he used his so-called "wireless telegraph" to send a message across the Atlantic Ocean. He kept improving his inventions after that, but for a while he had trouble making money off of them because Tesla pretty much invented and patented everything already. But eventually, Marconi was granted a patent for his creations and started successfully selling them. And in 1909, he shared the Nobel Prize in physics for his work. Shared with his partner, that is. Not with Tesla, whi never quite got over being overlooked. 

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