Heinrich Rudolph Hertz was born on 22 February 1857 in Hamburg, Germany and educated at the University of Berlin. He confirmed J.C. Maxwell’s electromagnetic theory by his experiments.
He laid the foundation for future development of radio, telephone, telegraph and even television. He also discovered the photoelectric effect which was later explained by Albert Einstein.
He received a Ph.D. magna cum laude from the University of Berlin in 1880, where he studied under Hermann von Helmholtz. In 1883 he began his studies of Maxwell’s electromagnetic theory. Between 1885 and 1889, while he was professor of physics at the Karlsruhe Polytechnic, he produced electromagnetic waves in the laboratory and measured their length and velocity.
He showed that the nature of their vibration and their susceptibility to reflection and refraction were the same as those of light and heat waves. As a result, he established beyond any doubt that light and heat are electromagnetic radiations. The electromagnetic waves were called Hertzian and, later, radio waves.
The SI unit of frequency was named as hertz in his honour. His scientific papers were translated into English and published in three volumes: Electric Waves (1893), Miscellaneous Papers (1896), and Principles of Mechanics (1899).