Oliver Heaviside, British physicist

Oliver Heaviside, British physicist

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Credit: SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Oliver Heaviside (1850-1925), British physicist and mathematician. Heaviside's work as a telegraph operator was ended by impaired hearing. Applying mathematics to electric circuits and telegraphy, he formulated the concepts of impedance, conductance and self-inductance. He showed how audio cable signals could be transmitted without distortion, how a telephone line can carry many conversations (multiplexing), and suggested a radio-reflecting layer in the upper atmosphere (the Heaviside layer). He was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 1891. Portrait from 'History of the Institution of Electrical Engineers 1871-1931' (Appleyard, 1939).

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