Italian Physicist, Inventor, known for his pioneering work on long distance radio transmission and for his development of Marconi's law and a radio telegraph system
Have I done the world good, or have I added a menace?
I am glad to have this opportunity of expressing my high appreciation of the honour extended to me many years ago by the Royal Swedish Academy of Science by enrolling me amongst its members.
If we consider what science already has enabled men to know—the immensity of space, the fantastic philosophy of the stars, the infinite smallness of the composition of atoms, the macrocosm whereby we succeed only in creating outlines and translating a measure into numbers without our minds being able to form any concrete idea of it—we remain astounded by the enormous machinery of the universe.
In the new era, thought itself will be transmitted by radio.
It was shortly after midday on December 12, 1901, [in a hut on the cliffs at St. John's, Newfoundland] that I placed a single earphone to my ear and started listening. The receiver on the table before me was very crude—a few coils and condensers and a coherer—no valves [vacuum tubes], no amplifiers, not even a crystal. I was at last on the point of putting the correctness of all my beliefs to test. ... [The] answer came at 12:30. ... Suddenly, about half past twelve there sounded the sharp click of the “tapper” ... Unmistakably, the three sharp clicks corresponding to three dots sounded in my ear. “Can you hear anything, Mr. Kemp?” I asked, handing the telephone to my assistant. Kemp heard the same thing as I. ... I knew then that I had been absolutely right in my calculations. The electric waves which were being sent out from Poldhu [Cornwall, England] had travelled the Atlantic, serenely ignoring the curvature of the earth which so many doubters considered a fatal obstacle. ... I knew that the day on which I should be able to send full messages without wires or cables across the Atlantic was not far distant.
The mystery of life is certainly the most persistent problem ever placed before the thought of man… The inability of science to solve it is absolute. This would be truly frightening were it not for faith.
You will also allow me to thank the Academy for inviting me to lecture in Stockholm, for its hospitality, and for the opportunity afforded me for admiring the charm of your people and the beauty of your country.
Every day sees humanity more victorious in the struggle with space and time.