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Heinrich Hertz

Figure 1: Heinrich Rudolph Hertz

Figure1: Heinrich Rudolph Hertz

Heinrich Hertz

Heinrich Rudolph Hertz (☆ 22. February 1857 in Hamburg - † 1. January 1894 in Bonn) was a German physicist.

In 1887 Heinrich Hertz designed a brilliant series of experiments to experimentally confirm Maxwell’s wave theory. He used a transmitter with a small gap as a spark gap which was connected to an induction coil for high voltage generation. Hertz argued that if Maxwell’s predictions were correct, electromagnetic waves would have to be transmitted in each series of sparks.

Resonator with
tiny spark gap
Spark gap as the transmitter
Induction Coil

Figure 2: Experimental set-up by Heinrich Hertz

The primary power supply consisted of galvanic cells. A coil with magnetic self-interruption fed an induction coil and thus generated a high voltage. The transmitter was a spark gap which generated electromagnetic waves. A resonator circuit with a tiny spark gap could register the electromagnetic waves. With this simple but ingenious experimental setup, Heinrich Hertz was able to prove the electromagnetic waves predicted by Maxwell. In further experiments, he was also able to prove the light-like properties, such as reflection and the possibility of bundling at a concave mirror.