Popov, Aleksandr Stepanovich

Popov, Aleksandr Stepanovich
b. 16 March 1859 Bogoslavsky, Zamod, Ural District, Russia
d. 13 January 1906 St Petersburg, Russia
Russian physicist and electrical engineer acclaimed by the former Soviet Union as the inventor of radio.
Popov, the son of a village priest, received his early education in a seminary, but in 1877 he entered the University of St Petersburg to study mathematics. He graduated with distinction in 1883 and joined the faculty to teach mathematics and physics. Then, increasingly interested in electrical engineering, he became an instructor at the Russian Navy Torpedo School at Krondstadt, near St Petersburg, where he later became a professor. On 7 May 1895 he is said to have transmitted and received Morse code radio signals over a distance of 40 m (130 ft) in a demonstration given at St Petersburg University to the Russian Chemical Society, but in a paper published in January 1896 in the Journal of the Russian Physical and Chemical Society, he in fact described the use of a coherer for recording atmospheric disturbances such as lightning, together with the design of a modified coherer intended for reception at a distance of 5 km (3 miles). Subsequently, on 26 November 1897, after Marconi's own radio-transmission experiments had been publicized, he wrote a letter claiming priority for his discovery to the English-language journal Electrician, in the form of a translated précis of his original paper, but neither the original Russian paper nor the English précis made specific claims of either a receiver or a transmitter as such. However, by 1898 he had certainly developed some form of ship-to-shore radio for the Russian Navy. In 1945, long after the Russian revolution, the communist regime supported his claim to be the inventor of radio, but this is a matter for much debate and the priority of Marconi's claim is generally acknowledged outside the USSR.
1896, Journal of the Russian Physical and Chemical Society (his original paper in Russian).
1897, Electrician 40:235 (the English précis).
Further Reading
C.Susskind, 1962, "Popov and the beginnings of radio telegraphy", Proceedings of the Institute of Radio Engineers 50:2,036.
——1964, Marconi, Popov and the dawn of radiocommunication', Electronics and Power, London: Institution of Electrical Engineers, 10:76.

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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