Manfredi Eustachio scientists in Bologna index Menghini Vincenzo

Guglielmo Marconi
(Fabrizio Ḅnoli, Giorgio Dragoni)

Fig. 1:  Photo of Guglielmo Marconi.

  Guglielmo Marconi was born in Bologna on 25 April 1874, the son of a rich landowner and his second wife, Annie Jameson, daughter of a famous Irish whisky producer.

He was educated privately at home and then went to a private institute in Florence and the Technical Institute of Leghorn, although his attendance was irregular and he never completed his studies.  Nevertheless, in Leghorn he received excellent teaching in physics and electrical technology from, respectively, Giotto Bizzarrini and Vincenzo Rosa, as well as private lessons from the latter.  Also of importance while in Leghorn was Marconi’s encounter with an old telegraph operator who taught him the morse code. 
In addition, his reading of many scientific articles stimulated a  particular preference for physics and a marked vocation – and intuition – for technology.  As Marconi recalled in later life, the biography of B. Franklin and articles by A. Righi, O. Lodge and E. Branly left a deep impression on him.



From the age of 18 and at his family’s request, Marconi obtained permission from Augusto Righi (one of the most famous experimental physicists of the time) to use the laboratory and the library of Bologna University’s Physics Institute, as well as to attend Righi’s lessons.  At that time Righi was busy studying J. Clerk Maxwell’s electromagnetic theory of light and improving H. R. Hertz’s experiments to prove the theory of electromagnetic waves.  In this context, Righi used oscillators which produced sparks (i.e. electromagnetic waves) and resonators (i.e. receivers of electromagnetic waves).  By studying the properties of these waves he improved and furthered the studies of Hertz, who died in 1894.

It was in this cultural environment that the young Marconi had the idea of using electromagnetic waves to send signals over a distance without the use of wires; at the time, wires were used for telegraphic transmissions.

And so in 1894 at the age of just twenty, in the peace and quiet of the family home, Villa Griffone in Pontecchio, near Bologna, Marconi devoted his time to trying out numerous devices to put this idea into practice.

Fig. 2: Villa Griffone in Pontecchio Marconi (Bologna), home of the Marconi Museum and the Marconi Foundation. Beneath the Villa is the Marconi mausoleum.

(Gugliemo Marconi - page 1 of 4)
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