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Guglielmo Marconi

Marconi, Guglielmo, Marchese (1874-1937), Italian electrical engineer and Nobel laureate, known as the inventor of the first practical radio-signalling system. He was born in Bologna and educated at the University of Bologna. As early as 1890 he became interested in wireless telegraphy, and by 1895 he had developed apparatus with which he succeeded in sending signals to a point a few kilometres away by means of a directional antenna. After patenting his system in Britain, he formed (1897) Marconi's Wireless Telegraph Company Ltd in London.

In 1899 he established communication across the English Channel between England and France, and in 1901 he communicated signals across the Atlantic Ocean between Poldhu, in Cornwall, and St John's, in Newfoundland, Canada. His system was soon adopted by the British and Italian navies, and by 1907 had been so much improved that a transatlantic wireless telegraph service was established for public use. Marconi was awarded honours by many countries and received, jointly with the German physicist Karl Ferdinand Braun, the 1909 Nobel Prize for Physics for his work in wireless telegraphy. During World War I he was in charge of the Italian wireless service and developed short-wave transmission as a means of secret communication. In the remaining years of his life he experimented with short waves and microwaves.