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Heinrich Rudolf Hertz

February 22, 2012 by staff 

Heinrich Rudolf Hertz, Heinrich Rudolf Hertz’s doodle, which Google released Wednesday Google celebrated German physicist Heinrich Rudolf Hertz’s 155th birthday Wednesday by turning its logo into a frequency wave.

You may recognize Hertz’s name from the unit of measurement – the hertz – which measures cycles per second.

In his brief life (he died at the age of 36), he made important contributions to the study of electromagnetism, confirming the existence of electromagnetic waves through experiment in 1886 while he was a professor at the University of Karlsruhe.

Heinrich Rudolf Hertz circa 1894

While his discoveries would eventually lead to the inventions of the wireless telegraph, radio and television, Hertz didn’t realize the importance of his work at the time. After an experiment that helped establish the photoelectric effect, he commented that “it’s of no use whatsoever.”

“This is just an experiment that proves Maestro Maxwell was right – we just have these mysterious electromagnetic waves that we cannot see with the n*ked eye. But they are there.”

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