News and CommentHistory of Science

Bose Credited With Key Role in Marconi's Radio Breakthrough

Science  23 Jan 1998:
Vol. 279, Issue 5350, pp. 476
DOI: 10.1126/science.279.5350.476

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DELHI, INDIA-- The Italian physicist Guglielmo Marconi holds a secure place in the history books for decoding the first wireless message sent across the Atlantic Ocean. That achievement ushered in the modern era of electronic communications. But it also triggered a century-long debate over who should get the credit for developing the receiving device that captured the famous message. This month, an article in a special issue of The Proceedings of the IEEE makes a definitive case for Jagadis Chandra Bose, an Indian biologist and physicist. Bose announced the invention in an 1899 paper presented at the Royal Society in London, writes a satellite and communications engineer at Johnson Space Center in Houston who is also an amateur historian.