Who Really Invented the Radio?

Who Really Invented the Radio?

♪ INTRO ♪ There are probably lots of things in your life that use radio waves, like your car and your cell phone. And there are radio waves passing through you all the time. For something that we use so much, you’d think we’d know who invented it. But the story behind the invention of radio is kind of complicated. Often, Guglielmo Marconi gets all the credit. He sent the first transatlantic radio message in 1901 and won the 1909 Nobel Prize for his inventions. But you’ll hear a lot of people argue that it was actually Nikola Tesla who invented the radio. He was just overshadowed, as usual, by people who were better at making money. The idea of sending messages without wires stretches back decades before Marconi or Tesla, to the early 1800s and the experiments of physicists like Hans Christian Oersted and Michael Faraday. Oersted figured out that an electric current created a magnetic field, and a few years later Faraday discovered that moving magnets can make currents move through nearby wires even if the two aren’t touching. This is called electromagnetic induction, and it’s basically how all modern power plants work. Then, Joseph Henry discovered that a flash of lightning can move a compass needle from 13 kilometers away, proving once again that big groups of moving electric charges can create powerful magnetic fields. By the late 1800s, scientists knew that the moving electric charges could create a specific type of long-wavelength light that we know today as radio waves. The next big breakthroughs came from our old friend Nikola Tesla. In the 1890s, he passed alternating current through a big coil of wire in a version of his now-famous Tesla coils. The current made a changing magnetic field around the coil, which in turn made an electric current in another nearby coil of wire. Tesla realized that the coils would send out strong radio waves if he timed the currents just right, and he could get those radio waves to travel as far as 50 kilometers. He got a whole bunch of patents for his inventions, and even showed off his new technology with the first-ever remote-controlled boat. But Tesla never sent any messages with his radio waves. His main interest was in wireless power, instead of wireless communication. Then, in 1895, as he was setting up his laboratory to send a message 80 kilometers away to West Point, a fire in the lab stopped his progress, and stopped any hope of him getting credit for inventing radios as a way of communicating. Because at the same time, an Italian inventor named Guglielmo Marconi had been working on the same problem. And in 1901, he used his so-called “wireless telegraph” to send a message across the Atlantic Ocean. He kept improving his inventions after that, but for a while he had trouble making money off of them because Tesla pretty much invented and patented everything already. But eventually, Marconi was granted a patent for his creations and started successfully selling them. And in 1909, he shared the Nobel Prize in physics for his work. Shared with his partner, that is. Not with Tesla, who never quite got over being overlooked. Thanks for asking, and thanks especially to all of our patrons on Patreon who keep these answers coming. If you’d like to submit questions to be answered, or get some videos a few days early, go to patreon.com/scishow. And don’t forget to go to youtube.com/scishow and subscribe. ♪ OUTTRO ♪

100 thoughts on “Who Really Invented the Radio?

  1. how can you say he made and demonstrated a remote control boat, but didn't communicate? isn't that a form of communication?

  2. hey how come you didn't address the fact that tesla sued Marconi and after teslas death in 1943 was awarded the patent from the us supreme court?

  3. Research about brazilian priest Landell de Moura and his voice radio transmission in 1893 as long as 8km (5 miles)

    Voice, not bips or static clicks

  4. Big businessmen of Tesla's time didn't just screw him over, they screwed humanity over too, and the CIA confiscated his research too, which now must be returned to the people just as our late friend Tesla intended.

  5. 1. About Marconi – who frankly is an a** if you ask me- Tesla sued him and won in 1943, a few months after his death. The Supreme Court of Justice decided that Marconi's reputation as the man who first achieved successful radio transmission rests on his
    original patent, which became reissue No. 11,913, and which is not here in question. That reputation, however well deserved, does not entitle him to a patent for every later improvement which he claims in the radio field. Patent cases, like others, must be decided not by weighing the reputations of the litigations, but by careful study of the merits of
    their respective contentions and proofs.After this decision, most of Marconi's patents were overturned by the Supreme Court of Justice
    2. Nikola Tesla did the first public demonstration of radio in 1893 in St.Louis, Missouri, in front of more than 1000 people so there is that

  6. Marconi's patent was deemed invalid in 1943 by the US Supreme Court and the patent for the radio was awarded to Tesla.

  7. 1:56 So Tesla was thwarted because he didn't have fire insurance to allow him to continue working on radio? 2:08 Marconi didn't come on the scene for another 6 years.

  8. What about the Russian – Alexander Popov? In the East he is believed to be the Inventor of Radio. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Stepanovich_Popov

  9. Didn't Marconi just take bits other people had invented, stick it all in a box then try to sell it as his own stuff? He was a fraud.

  10. James Clerk Maxwell published in 1865 his mathematical deduction that changing electric and magnetic fields would propagate as waves in space, at 300'000 km/s, independently of their source. In 1887 Heinrich Hertz proved the theory correct, by generating and detecting 50 MHz radio waves.

    Tesla, Marconi, Bose, and Popov all knew about the discoveries of Maxwell and Hertz when they made their experiments, 10 years later. IMHO they do not deserve to be called "inventors of the radio". What they invented was various ways to use radio for communication and remote control.

    Without Maxwell's brilliant theoretical work, neither Hertz nor anyone else would have tried to generate and detect radio waves. Without the experimental proof that radio waves existed, it is very unlikely that any of the four "inventors of radio" would have developed their transmitters and receivers.

    So, I think that the merit of inventing radio should go mostly to Maxwell first, then to Hertz, and only then to the other four.

  11. Heinrich Hertz made the first communication in radio, even if it wasn't any useful message or farther than his office.

  12. I don't think the facts matter, this is the internet. The internet would give Tesla the credit for the wheel if it thought it could get away with it.

    Sounds like both of them, and I gotta say sending a message across the Atlantic sounds a lot more impressive then 80 km

  13. Tesla was a genius, he wanted to make electricity free for everyone. If the man was still alive the world would be a better place

  14. Early 1860's was Maxwell who wrote down all the necessary equations. So 30 years to get from theorist to engineers is not bad.

  15. I FRIGGING LOVE SCIENCE! WAAAA! Also. I originally thought tesla was responsible for the radio. I guess I didn't get all of the information. I guess it pays to double check. Unless you're tesla, in which case you never get paid.

  16. The saddest thing is that the Supreme Court decided that Tesla was the real patentee in 1943. Marconi died in 1937, Tesla died few months before (January, 1943)… the US Army had a 43000$ debt with Marconi Company that with this decision magically disappeared 🙂

  17. For goodness sake, is this is meant to be a serious scientific channel?

    Why then are you supplying ammunition to the frankly mental Tesla loonies. 'The world would not exist without tesla' 'Tesla invented electricity' 'Tesla invented radio' 'Tesla knew how to give the world unlimited energy'. A serious look at Tesla is a good thing, pandering to popular misconception is not. Tesla had a frankly insignificant input in radio development, interesting, yes. Was he brilliant? Yes, no doubt. Did he 'invent' radio, no.

    Maxwell Faraday et al laid the foundations, the true greats. Others added their contribution. Tesla even thought Maxwell was wrong about radio waves?? He was a fine inventor, but the sorry thing is the world would probably not have missed him, the secrets had been revealed, a whole generation before Tesla, the scientific community of the time was working feverishly in this area. It would all have happened without him (and an argument says it did). That is the reality.
    This craziness does his memory no favour.

    I was a real Tesla fan, except now I can't even have his name mentioned near me without being triggered – because of idiots.

    EDIT: I can't come here without saying 'anus'.

  18. I propose Edwin Howard Armstrong as one of the greatest unsung genius engineers / inventors of the last century. He had an arguably much bigger impact on our modern world than Tesla ever did and was shafted in a bigger way too. He ended up jumping out of a window after RCA screwed him. He may not hold as many patents as Tesla only 42, not 300 – but who measures genius with numbers?

  19. The first remotely operated ring bell by Marconi was built in 1894-1895 the first experiments with radios in the summer of 1895 and the first radio transmission on the 8th December of 1895, so a lot earlier than the reported 1901 trans-Atlantic experiment.

  20. Non of them invented Radio. The inventor is Jagadish Chandra Bashu. This Technology was stolen from him.

  21. Well, your wrong. It was actually a Bangladeshi (Indian) scientist Sir Jagadish Chandra Bosh (the man who discovered that plants are living things) who invented it in 1894.

  22. The real inventor of the radio was the Brazilian Roberto Landell de Moura.
    Link of the report about him made by the "New York Herald": http://www.saopauloinfoco.com.br/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/P%C3%A1gina-dupla-do-jornal-norte-americado-New-York-Herald-onde-o-padre-figura-com-destaque-1902.jpg
    Between 1893 and 1894, Roberto Landell de Moura transmitted the human voice through electromagnetic waves from the College of the Sisters of St. Joseph (now Santana College), high in the Santana neighborhood, in São Paulo, to Paulista Avenue, a distance 8 kilometers.
    Occasionally the press highlighted the achievements of the Brazilian scientist, who obtained patents in Brazil and the United States for his inventions.

  23. Radio invented by Popov, as we believe in the country, but in the west Marconi, you know what's the matter? Most of the inventions of Russian inventors and physicists were brazenly stolen and patented, which the real inventors did not even suspect, ponder over this

  24. So, you forgot Alexander Popov who in January 1900 transmitted radio 45 Km away. Sorry, you need to make a better investigation.

  25. In 1943 and six months after his death the US Supreme Court ruled that all of Marconi's radio patents were invalid and awarded the patents for radio to Tesla.

  26. What about the incredible contributions of Sir Jagdish Chandra Bose, please do your research. Read this and educate yourself – http://web.mit.edu/varun_ag/www/bose.html

  27. The truth is that no one 100% invented the radio.
    1831 – Michael Faraday – experimented with electromagnetic induction (Joseph Henry, Francesco Zantedeschi did same thing at the time)

    1860's – Mahlon Loomis – developed a method of transmitting and receiving messages using the earth's atmosphere as a conductor.

    1886 – James Clerk Maxwell – credit for electromagnetic waves

    1886-1889 – Heinrich Rudolf Hertz – proved Maxwell's theroy

    1889 – Guglielmo Marconi – did the same job as Maxwell only he actually succeeded in sending signals over long distances.
    Also constructed wireless stations on both sides of the English Channel and sent the first wireless signal across Atlantic in 1901.

    1892 – John Stone Stone – attempted to wirelessly transmit audio using "high frequency transmissions". It was unsuccessful, but the work proved applicable to the development of "wired wireless" transmissions.

    1894 – Jagadish Chandra Bose – demonstrated the use of radio waves in Calcutta by igniting gunpowder to ring a bell using electromagnetic waves. Some say Marconi stole his ideas.

    1895 – Alexander Stepanovich Popov – presented a paper on a wireless lightning detector he had built that worked via using a coherer to detect radio noise from lightning strikes. In 1896 he used radio waves to transmit a message between different campus buildings in St. Petersburg. Marconi already did it.

    1894 – Sir Oliver Lodge – demonstrated the reception of Morse code signalling via radio waves using a "coherer".

    1898 – Nikola Tesla – experimented with radio waves, electromagnetic fields… he developed a radio based remote-controlled boat. (but the idea of radio waves was already in 1892).

    1906 – Reginald Aubrey Fessenden – demonstrated the first wireless transmission of music and the human voice without wires to a receiver.

    I know these are very comprehensive facts, but you get the idea. This is an ENDLESS fight. And I didn't even mention all scientists/inventors.

  28. Hi, I started to follow you I don't understand very much but I liked you and I'll contiune to watch you

  29. neither nicola tesla nor Guglielmo Marconi it was jagadish chandra bose. lets talk about the real inventor of air plane (study little bit about shivkar bapuji talpade).

  30. This is full of silly propaganda. Tesla is now a cult figure. Just quickly look at all Marconi did with radio..which there is alot more to than this video is showing.Short wave, long wave, med wave, propagation, antennas, transmitters receivers. Good Lord People. Don't be sheep please. Think about it before you jump on the Tesla bandwagon he would quickly get a patent from an idea .. You need to take it to fruition. The Wright bros didn't invent the plane who was the guy that waxed feathers to his arms maybe he did ? ha ha

  31. Seems to me that at the end of the 19th century the scientific community had finally acquired some good knowledge after years of observation (from various people around the globe) was a matter of time that any of these guys would have said lets use it to communicate from a distance

  32. You forgot about Jozef Murgaš. He contributed to wireless telegraphy and helped in the development of mobile communications and the wireless transmission of information and the human voice. Propaganda over knowledge.

  33. Reginald fesseden sent the first voice and music on the radio Christmas Eve 1906 and the first radio from America to Scotland! He was the best!! If you want to piss me off,leave Reginald fesseden out of great radio history…. mission accomplished!! 🙁

  34. jagdish Chandra bose invented the radio before marconis demonstration to England.jagdish Chandra also invented the crescograph which measures plants and wireless communications in the year 1819

  35. calculus, arithmetic, decimal system.quadratic formulas,concept of algebra, geometry, trigonometry,science,  writing,. ink,. the ruler all comes from Indians hydraulic engineering water system cotton clothing buttons,game of chess, plumbing, drainage, shampoo,toilets all come from indians

  36. Bull. Tesla loudly declared radio waves to be fiction well into the 1930's. He called Maxwell's work the biggest blunder in the history of science and Tesla even traveled to Europe encourage Hertz to stop wasting his time with the lies of radio waves. Tesla wasn't just confused and incompetent, he was loud about it.

  37. USA based IEEE has proved what has been a century old suspicion in the world scientific community that the pioneer of wireless communication was Prof. Jagdeesh Bose and not Marconi.

  38. Jagdish Chandra bose invented the radio first not Marconi and not anyone else for that matter.also like to add that the first stringed instrument is the indian veena and first drums is indian dundhubi and music itself comes from indian hindu sam ved

  39. What a failure in history and go figure with such a spoon-fed propagandized channel for floaters in life.
    In reality Marconi circumvented the Tesla patents to transmit through his system based on a Hertzian design of his college professor.
    Franklin Delano Roosevelt lobbied for the US Navy's radio patents in a push for governmental ownership of wireless transmission and it became illegal for civilians to possess any parts of a radio in 1909. The Navy formed the Radio Corporation of America and created a repackaged shortwave transmission system in Bolinas, California.
    In 1943 after his death the US Supreme Court ruled that all of Marconi's radio patents were invalid and awarded the patents for radio to Tesla.

  40. Roberto Landell de Moura, the true inventor of radio, he was Brazilian born in Porto Alegre – Brazil on January 21, 1861

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