At Italy On This Day you will read about events and festivals, about important moments in history, and about the people who have made Italy the country it is today, and where they came from. Italy is a country rich in art and music, fashion and design, food and wine, sporting achievement and political diversity. Italy On This Day provides fascinating insights to help you enjoy it all the more.

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Guglielmo Marconi – inventor and electrical engineer


Message received meant a scientific breakthrough


Guglielmo Marconi received the first transatlantic radio signal using equipment he had invented himself on this day in 1901 in Newfoundland.

Marconi was credited with the invention of radio as a result and shared the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1909 with another scientist, Karl Ferdinand Braun.
Bologna where Marconi was born and went to University

The message Marconi received, which was regarded as a great scientific advance, was the letter ‘S’ in Morse Code. It had been sent from a transmission station Marconi had set up in Cornwall, 2,200 miles away.

The inventor was born in Bologna in 1874. His father, Giuseppe Marconi, was a nobleman and landowner from Poretta Terme and his mother was of Scottish and Irish descent.

Marconi was brought up in Bedford in England as a young child but after moving back to Italy he was educated privately and then went to study at the University of Bologna.

While living in the Villa Griffone at Pontecchio near Bologna he began to conduct experiments to create wireless telegraphy.

He went to England to continue his work and by 1897 had transmitted a Morse code signal over a distance of six kilometres. He then sent the world’s first wireless communication over open sea.

Marconi was born in Italy but raised in England
Guglielmo Marconi

But it was the message he received in 1901 in Newfoundland that is now known to have laid the foundations for modern communications.
Marconi died in Rome in 1937 at the age of 63 and was given a state funeral.

All BBC and Post Office transmitters in Britain observed a two minute silence at the start of his funeral.

Travel tip:

Villa Griffone at Pontecchio, where Marconi conducted his experiments, is about 15 kilometres from Bologna. It is now the seat of the Guglielmo Marconi Foundation and the Marconi Musum dedicated to the origins and development of radio communications. Marconi’s remains lie there in a mausoleum designed by Marcello Piacentini. Visit www.fgm.it for more details.

Travel tip:

Porretta Terme, where Marconi’s father, Giuseppe, owned land, is a spa town south of Bologna in Emilia Romagna near the region's border with Tuscany, known since Roman times for the therapeutic quality of its thermal springs.

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