By Natural Philosopher Mike Prestwood
Timeline Story

Electromagnetic Radiation Theory

Electromagnetic Radiation Theory

Post Date: 01/01/1864
James Clerk Maxwell (1831-1879)

James Clerk Maxwell predicted electromagnetic waves, but he did not perform experiments to prove their existence. His prediction was based on his work on the classical theory of electromagnetic radiation, which unified electricity, magnetism, and light as different manifestations of the same phenomenon. Maxwell’s equations for electromagnetism predicted the existence of waves of oscillating electric and magnetic fields that travel through empty space at a speed that could be predicted from simple electrical experiments. The existence of electromagnetic waves was later experimentally confirmed by Heinrich Hertz in 1887.

  • 1831: Michael Faraday discovers electromagnetic induction: electric current in a wire.
  • 1864: James Clerk Maxwell publishes “A Dynamical Theory of the Electromagnetic Field,” where he predicts the existence of electromagnetic waves, including radio waves.
  • 1887: Heinrich Hertz experimentally demonstrates the existence of radio waves, confirming Maxwell’s theories.
  • 1895: Guglielmo Marconi, first practical use, radio waves to transmit Morse code without wires.
  • 1906: Reginald Fessenden, first radio broadcast of audio (both music and speech) on Christmas Eve.
  • 1920s: Radio becomes a popular medium for entertainment and news
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