EXHIBITS: Birth of Wireless

Science  01 Jun 2001:
Vol. 292, Issue 5522, pp. 1615b
DOI: 10.1126/science.292.5522.1615b

One hundred years ago on a windy December day in Newfoundland, Guglielmo Marconi flew a giant kite and picked up the first transatlantic, Morse code message beamed from Cornwall, England, launching the era of wireless communication. Marconi's work is commemorated in MarconiCalling, a new online Web site from Marconi Corp. plc, the U.K.-based company that the half-Italian, half-Irish physicist founded. (In the United States, it became RCA.)

The site holds a digital version of Marconi plc's vast Marconi archive, which includes hundreds of photos, documents, newspaper clippings, and even film and sound clips on the scientist's experiments. The site is also packed with multimedia bells and whistles such as a 3D version of Marconi's early telegraphy apparatus, and an animation of the 1912 Titanic disaster and rescue with actual telegrams sent by the sinking vessel and other ships. A detailed timeline follows wireless discoveries by Marconi and other scientists from the 1890s through the first radio and TV broadcasts. When Marconi died in 1937, wireless transmissions were shut down worldwide for 2 minutes in tribute.

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