Guglielmo Marconi, Augusto Righi and the invention of wireless telegraphy
Department of Philosophy and Educational Sciences, University of Turin, Via Gaudenzio Ferrari 9, 10124, Turin, Italy
2 Department of Physics, University of Genova, Via Dodecaneso 33, 16146, Genova, Italy
3 INFN Section of Turin, Via Pietro Giuria 1, 10125, Turin, Italy
4 INFN Section of Genova, Via Dodecaneso 33, 16146, Genova, Italy
5 Centro Fermi, Museo Storico della Fisica e Centro Studi e Ricerche “Enrico Fermi”, Piazza del Viminale 1, 00184, Rome, Italy
Accepted: 30 June 2021
Published online: 28 July 2021
One of the major accomplishments of the late nineteenth-century applied physics was, as it is well known, the development of wireless telegraphy by Guglielmo Marconi, future Nobel laureate. In this paper, we will explore what scientific debt, if any, Marconi had toward another Italian physicist, internationally well known for his research on electromagnetic waves: Augusto Righi. This question will be pursued through a close analysis of Marconi’s first patent, of Righi’s scientific correspondence and of the specialized and popular press of the time. At the end of this analysis, which includes a brief survey of Marconi and Righi’s activity as senators of the Kingdom of Italy, we will better appreciate what Marconi took from contemporary scientists, what specific contributions he is responsible for and, ultimately, what Marconi and Righi thought of each other.
© The Author(s) 2021
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