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Oliver Heaviside's Contribution to Telecommunications

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1 Author(s)
Morando, A.P. ; Politecnico di Milano, Milan

Self-taught, Oliver Heaviside must be considered, with Hertz, as the direct heir and follower of Maxwellian thought as expressed in the Dynamical Theory and the Treatise. In particular, to Heaviside we owe the reformulation of Maxwellian electrodynamics, the currently used vectorial formulas of which were stated by him. His Electromagnetic Theory and Electrical Papers also investigated the energy of the electromagnetic field and its propagation, on which Maxwell had only touched. Stimulated by Hertz's experiments on electromagnetic waves, Heaviside contributed crucially to the scientific foundation of the theory of circuits, which he saw as subordinate -and generally approximate -to the theory of electromagnetic fields. To Heaviside we also owe the complete formulation -following the original models by Kirchhoff and Kelvin -of the theory of lines of distributed constants. In this field, as well as analyzing spatial-temporal transitory conditions and introducing operational calculus, Heaviside formulated the condition of non-distortion, which made telephony a concrete possibility. Laying the foundations for telecommunications, he further hypothesized the existence of an ionosphere around the Earth. No less important were his calculations to establish the age of the Earth.

Published in:

Antennas and Propagation Magazine, IEEE  (Volume:49 ,  Issue: 6 )