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Inventors & Inventions

"If I have seen further, it is only because I have stood on the shoulders of giants"
Sir Isaac Newton

Although this list represents the most famous inventors in the electric/electronic field, it is only a small subset of the great minds that have brought us to our current level of understanding, and the technology we enjoy today.



William Gilbert 1544 - 1603 investigated magnetism & static electricity
Otto von Guericke 1602 - 1686 invented first electrostatic generator
Francis Hauksbee 1666 - 1713 studied electrostatic repulsion, first mercury vapor light
Emilie du Chatelet 1706 - 1749 studied infrared emission & measured conservation of energy (leading towards E=MC² equation)
Benjamin Franklin 1706 - 1790 studied electrical charges & labeled them "positive" & "negative", and a whole lot more!
Luigi Galvani 1737 - 1798 discovered electrical effects between different metals, and in biological cells
Alessandro Volta 1745 - 1827 developed the forerunner of the electric battery
André Marie Ampère 1775 - 1836 established a measurable relationship between electricity and magnetism
Hans Christian Oersted 1777 - 1851 developed experiments in electromagnetism
Carl Friedrich Gauss 1777 - 1855 experimented with electrical charges and magnetism, and established a method for measuring magnetic fields
Georg Simon Ohm 1789 - 1854 his work led to the mathematical relationship between voltage, current, and resistance called "Ohm's Law"
Michael Faraday 1791 - 1867 developed measurement methods in capacitance & electromotive force
Joseph Henry 1797 - 1878 discovered electromagnetic self-inductance, and invented the electromagnetic relay - leading to the telegraph. the henry, or H, is a unit of inductance
James Prescott Joule 1818 - 1889 developed theories on conservation of energy, thermodynamics, and resistance heating
Sir William Thompson 1824 - 1907 (a.k.a. Lord Kelvin) studied thermodynamics & proposed an absolute temperature scale
James Clerk Maxwell 1831 - 1879 developed a set of differential equations known as "maxwell's Equations", which describe electromagnetic radiation and its interaction with matter
Alexander Graham Bell 1847 - 1922 one of several inventors of the telephone. also invented the photophone which transmitted sound over light waves
Thomas A. Edison 1847 - 1931 not enough room here!   (click to read)
Nikola Tesla 1856 - 1943 developed an alternating current system of generators, motors, and transmission lines - the same system we use today! also a whole lot more that's still ahead of its time!
Heinrich Hertz 1857 - 1894 best known for the hertz, or Hz. (a unit of frequency), he also made discoveries in electromagnetic transmission and the photoelectric effect, and developed the spark-gap transmitter and dipole antenna
Lee de Forest 1873 - 1961 invented the audion vacuum tube which amplified weak electric signals
Guglielmo Marconi 1874 - 1937 built upon earlier ideas and patents to develop a widely used radio system
Philo Farnsworth 1906 - 1971 An American inventor considered to be the father of the television system
William Shockley 1910 - 1989 co-invented the solid-state transistor with John Bardeen and Walter Brattain, leading to the creation of Silicon Valley
Jack Kilby 1923 - 2005 patented the first integrated circuit while at Texas Instruments, then later patented the portable calculator
Robert Noyce 1927 - 1990 further developed the integrated circuit to include more transistors on a silicon substrate
Gordon Moore born 1929 co-founded Intel in 1968 & known for "Moore's Law" which observes that integrated circuit complexity doubles every 2 years


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