Heinrich Rudolf Hertz. February 22, 1857 – January 1, 1894. A German physicist. The unit of frequency, which is part the International System of Units (SI), was named the “Hertz” in his honor.


Life and Work:

1. According to an anecdote, one famous German was tormented by the question: to marry or not to marry? And he changed his mind every second. This famous German was the remarkable physicist Heinrich Rudolf Hertz. In other words, he oscillated at a rate of one decision per second. Everyone who studied at school knows that one Hertz is the frequency of a periodic process, at which one process cycle occurs per second.


2. It is believed that three factors influenced the decision of the International Electrotechnical Commission to name the unit after Hertz. The first factor is, of course, the significant contribution made by Heinrich Hertz to the development of electrodynamics. Second, the word “Hertz” in German means “a heart.” Third, the human heart beats with a frequency approximately equal to one Hertz.


3. Heinrich Rudolf Hertz was born in Hamburg into a family of a lawyer and a daughter of a doctor. The family was well-off, belonged to the high society and was very cultured.


4. This “Favorite of the Gods,” as Hermann Helmholtz put it, showed his talents very early. And not only scientific ones. For example, Heinrich easily learned languages, he even knew Arabic and obsolete Sanskrit.


5. Heinrich Hertz studied at the University of Berlin under the famous physicists Hermann von Helmholtz and Gustav Kirchhoff.


6. At the age of twenty-three, he received his Ph.D. and began teaching himself: Professor of physics Hertz taught students in Karlsruhe and Bonn.


7. Heinrich Hertz finally made the decision to marry, and the marriage gave him strength and inspiration.


8. The works of the inspired professor are now listed in all encyclopedias, with an experimental confirmation of the electromagnetic theory of James Maxwell topping the lists. Maxwell made a theoretical conclusion about the existence of electromagnetic waves, but no experiments were performed during his lifetime. Heinrich Hertz experimentally proved that electromagnetic waves exist! He investigated the properties of electromagnetic waves and fully confirmed Maxwell’s conclusions that the speed of propagation of electromagnetic waves in air is equal to the speed of light.


9. According to the Great Soviet Encyclopedia, Hertz’s work on electrodynamics played a huge role in the development of science and technology, and led to the emergence of wireless telegraphy, radio communications, television, radars, etc.


10. However, Heinrich Hertz’s contribution to science doesn’t stop here. The professor described the external photo effect, studied the properties of cathode rays, created the theory of the impact of elastic balls. Probably, he would have created much more had not his life been interrupted at the age of thirty-six.


11. Luckily, there were people who took up the banner, which had fallen out of Hertz’s hands. After reading the posthumously published works of Hertz, Guglielmo Marconi entered the university and started transmitting radio waves in practice.


12. Russian inventor of radio, Alexander Popov, also honored the German physicist: the first radiogram transmitted by Alexander Popov consisted of two words “Heinrich Hertz.” Popov missed the second name of the remarkable physicist, “Rudolf.”


13. After Hitler came to power, the widow and two daughters of Heinrich Hertz emigrated to the UK and that was done for a good reason: the Nazis knew about the Jewish origin of the great physicist and removed his portrait from its prominent position of honor in Hamburg’s City Hall.