Today’s Google Doodle honors German Physicist Heinrich Rudolf Hertz who is probably best known for the unit of measurement that bears his name.
Hertz’s experiments in electromagnetism paved the way for wireless communications, as he was the first scientist to prove the existence of electromagnetic waves. His early research served as an expansion of the theory of electromagnetism proposed by Scottish physicist James Clerk Maxwell in 1865. Maxwell proposed that light itself was a series of electromagnetic waves and this prompted Hertz to construct his own apparatus to generate electromagnetic radiation.
Hertz did this in 1886 with a radio wave transmitter using a high voltage induction coil, a condenser, and a spark gap.
But he also had to detect the waves, so he built a receiver to detect the oscillating current. This was visible through the sparks across the spark gap. In later experiments with electromagnetic waves, Hertz determined that the radiation’s velocity was the same as light’s velocity and that radio waves’ reflection and refraction was also the same as light.
The “Hertz,” a universal measure of frequency, was established in 1930.
Today’s Google Doodle celebrates what would be his 155th birthday, Hertz Died at the age of 36.
For this Doodle, we chose to create a simple and elegant homage for Heinrich Hertz, whose research into electromagnetic waves contributed to the invention of the radio, television and radar,” said the Doodle’s creator Sophia Foster-Dimino. “So extensive were his experiments that there’s a unit of frequency, the hertz, named for him — hence our wavy Doodle!”
Sciencey Google Doodles in the past year celebrated Microchip inventor Robert Noyce, Daguerreotype inventor Louis Daguerre, Marie Curie, discoverer of Vitamin C Albert Szent-Gyorgyi, and “father of modern genetics” Gregor Mendel.