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When I was in high school I heard from my physics teacher in the last year of high school when he was starting the chapter of electromagnetic waves that the first person who proved existence of Electromagnetic waves (perhaps Faraday, Hertz, Maxwell, ..., I don't remember who) made a transmitter and a receiver and put one on a mount and the other on the other mount. Then he sent waves, and at the other side received light (or something like this). I can't remember who, either. Please excuse me, my field of study is not physics and I didn't do anything on it after high school except calculating some equations which my friends needed in physics.

My question has two parts:

  1. Who was the person I am mentioning in my above story exactly? I would like to know who it is to avoid making mistakes in the future.
  2. (The main part) What was his experiment exactly? I'm interested to know what he did at that time and of course what his experimental apparatus was. Think of me as your student in high school, and you want to show me that experiment again and our high school has all necessary instruments and lets you do that experiment in lab for your students to learn better.
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up vote 2 down vote accepted

The experiment was performed by Heinrich Hertz, and is well described in his wikipedia page. He did not transmit light, using (what is now known as) radio waves instead. This allowed him to use known electromagnetic apparatus to generate an oscillating current in an antenna and to detect it using known electric circuits. Setting up a standing wave at a known frequency allowed him to measure the wavelength and thus the speed of the EM waves, matching the speed of light (as measured by Foucault at the time) and as predicted by Maxwell.

Performing this experiment should be relatively easy with a signal generator, transmitting and receiving dipole antennas, oscilloscope and possibly amplifiers available to high-school level labs, I think.

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It was Heinrich Hertz! You can see the original experiment in Bonn, Germany, where it is still intact.

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It was good to pointing that his experiment is existed still. I didn't know that. – AmirHosein SadeghiManesh Jan 9 '13 at 16:49

protected by Qmechanic Feb 9 '13 at 0:22

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