born on April 25 1874.
He was the second
son of a runaway marriage between Giuseppe Marconi and Annie Jameson.
From an early
age he was devising scientific toys. He would take apart mechanical
objects and reassemble them. He played the piano and fished for
was rather disjointed. He was educated in England and Italy, either
in school or with private tutors. He was encouraged to concentrate
on his scientific interests after failing to qualify for the Italian
lectures by Augustus Righi, a professor of physics at Bologna University.
Righi was a great influence on the young Marconi as he was a pioneer
of work on wireless waves.
was on the way
followed and by 1895 Marconi had increased his range of transmission
from a few yards to more than two kilometres across the fields.
He persuaded his family to launch him in business.
for London, the capital of the world's leading maritime nation and
greatest trading empire. He arrived in February 1896.
He met A.A.
Campbell-Swinton, a leading engineer in the field of electrical
communications. In June 1896 Marconi submitted a full specification
for the world's first wireless patent for a system of telegraphy
using Hertzian waves.
By the end of
the year, Marconi had demonstrated his system to the GPO and the
armed services. His demonstrations caused a sensation and he became
Victoria respected Marconi
His system won
many important admirers. Despite her age and fragility Queen Victoria
met Marconi and exchanged messages by wireless between her Isle
of Wight residence and the Prince of Wales who was onboard the Royal
carried out tests between a Trinity House Lighthouse near Dover
and the East Goodwin Lightship. It was to demonstrate that wireless
could be used to protect lives at sea by means of ship-to-shore.
With the agreement
of the French government, a wireless station was set up at Wimereux
near Bologne and on 27 March 1899, Marconi transmitted the first
international wireless message across the Channel from Wimereux
to the South Foreland Lighthouse near Dover.
In 1901 Marconi
became the first person to bridge the Atlantic by wireless. Read
1909 Marconi shared the credit when 1,700 lives were saved through
wireless distress calls when two liners collided and one of them
sank off the coast of the USA. He then shared the Nobel Prize for
physics with one of the founders of his company's rivals, the Telefunken
Company of Germany.
year saw more success. The wireless was sensationally applied for
the first time to apprehend a dangerous criminal. On the westward
bound SS Montrose, the captain asked his Marconi operator to send
a brief message to England:
strong suspicions that Crippen London cellar murderer and accomplice
are among saloon passengers. Accomplice dressed as a boy. Voice
manner and build undoubtedly a girl."
detective from Scotland Yard boarded a faster ship and arrested
him before SS Montrose docked in Montreal.
success followed for Marconi including experimenting with microwaves.
with his achievements
Marconi moved to Rome in 1935, never to leave Italy again. He died
on 20 July 1937 aged 63. His body was laid to rest in the mausoleum
in the grounds of Villa Griffone.
a unique gesture wireless stations closed down and transmitters
all over the world fell silent. He will forever be remembered for
his work which changed the world of communication. His achievements
will be highlighted in the new Marconi centre in Poldhu. This opens
on the 100th anniversary of the first transatlantic signal being
sent by wireless waves from Poldhu in Cornwall to Newfoundland.
Find out more about the Marconi Centre