Google‘s latest homepage doodle has gone live today, celebrating Germany physicist Heinrich Rudolf Hertz, whose experiments with electromagnetic waves paved the way to radio, television and more. Born in Hamburg in 1857, Hertz is credited with an early expertise in science that saw him earn a doctorate by the age of 22; he went on to develop several antennas and other equipment that allowed him to conclusively prove the existence of electromagnetic waves.
Later experiments proved that electromagnetic waves move at the speed of light, as well as examining how those waves could be reflected and refracted. One such setup is still named after him, the Hertz antenna receiver of 1886, and his name was also used for the Hertzian cone model of wave-front propagation through different media.
In 1892, Hertz underwent surgery to address persistent migraines believed to be caused by an infection. He died of Wegener’s granulomatosis – an incurable inflammation of the blood vessels – at the age of 36 in Bonn, Germany in 1894.
Without Hertz’s pioneering research, future developments such as the wireless telegraph, radio and television would not have been possible. That leads all the way up to today’s cellphones and wirelessly-enabled tablets. There’s more on Hertz at Wikipedia.