Heinrich Hertz Doodle: Did Google Get It Wrong?

    February 22, 2012
    Josh Wolford

I’m sure by now you’ve all seen today’s animated Google Doodle. The multi-colored never-ending wave pattern honors Heinrich Rudolf Hertz, who is best known for his studies on electromagnetic waves (and the fact that the unit of frequency, the Hertz, is named after him).

Now there is talk on the interwebs that Google got it wrong, however.

First spotted by Barry Schwartz at Search Engine Roundtable, the point has been brought up on Google’s Webmaster Central forum that the waves portrayed in the Doodle might not be correct to Hertz’s work. User Eric Hanson says,

Hertz described sound frequencies which are strictly sinusoidal in nature, for a company that has so much to do with the sciences, I wonder why the wave for today’ Google Doodle is clearly erroneous as it relates to the type of waves that Hertz described.

Another user, Zen Climber, elaborates:

Google’s doodle is made out of ellipse halves. To re-create Google’s doodle requires an infinite number of sinusoidal wave combinations. Same as it would be possible to create a periodic square wave using an infinite number of sinusoidal waves. All periodic wave forms have a frequency, which is represented in Hz (1/s) or Hertz. If you stop thinking here, the Google doodle would be a fair tribute to mr. Heinrich Hertz. However, february 22nd is not the celebration of periodicy, it’s mr. Hertz birthday! Heinrich Hertz clarified and expanded Maxwell’s Laws which described a finite number of electro-magnetic waves. Thus, i would say, the Google doodle is wrong!

From my terrible understanding of the science behind this, I’ll say that it appears they have a point. If they don’t both chastising me – I’ll just plead ignorance.

For their part, Google knows they are “making waves” with this one, posting this to their Google+ account:

We’re making waves with our doodle for Heinrich Rudolf Hertz, the German physicist who proved the existence of electromagnetic waves and whose research contributed to the invention of television and radio. For those of you who remember your high school physics, you’ll know he’s also the namesake of the unit hertz (Hz), which measures frequency. Visit the homepage to see it in action.

And for reference, here’s the Doodle in action:

Sound off! First, are the concerned science geeks right? Is Google’s Doodle wrong? And if so, do we care? I mean, the point is to honor the guy whose research paved to way for modern wireless communication. Plus, the logo has to look like the official Google logo (at least a little bit). And if you look closely enough, you can make out the letters (in their right colors) as the wave scrolls by.

Let us know what you think in the comments.


Josh Wolford
Josh Wolford is a writer for WebProNews. He likes beer, Japanese food, and movies that make him feel weird afterward. Mostly beer. Follow him on Twitter: @joshgwolf Instagram: @joshgwolf Google+: Joshua Wolford StumbleUpon: joshgwolf