If you go to Google.com today, you won't see a logo, but a moving soundwave representing Google's colours – blue, red, yellow and green. The Doodle is in celebration of Heinrich Rudolf Hertz, the first person to broadcast and receive radio waves and to confirm the presence of radio waves. Hertz was born 155 years ago (1857) on this day, in Hamburg, Germany. As any physicist or sound enthusiast would know, the frequency of a radiowave, or one cycle per second is measured in hertz. From a young age, Hertz showed an interest and aptitude in the sciences as well as languages. He later went on to study the sciences and engineering. In 1885, Hertz became a full professor at the University of Karlsruhe, where he would later go on to discover electromagnetic waves.

Google Doodles the wave

Google Doodles the wave

Hertz published that electromagnetic waves move at the speed of light and that light itself was, in fact a wave in 1865. In 1866, he successfully generated electromagnetic radiation to detect waves. In other studies, Hertz calculated the velocity of electromagnetic radiation and concluded that it is the same as the velocity at which light travels. Hertz, however, did not believe his experiments to be practically important. He was quoted saying, “It's of no use whatsoever[…] this is just an experiment that proves Maestro Maxwell was right — we just have these mysterious electromagnetic waves that we cannot see with the naked eye. But they are there.” In reply to the ramifications of his experiments, he said, “Nothing, I guess.

Hertz died in 1894, at the age of 36 in Bonn, Germany. He died of Wegener's granulomatosis, which is an incurable form of vasculitis. His wife did not remarry and Hertz had two daughters who never married. Therefore, Hertz has no direct descendants today.

Publish date: February 22, 2012 12:34 pm| Modified date: December 18, 2013 9:40 pm

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