Good News in History, June 2

125 years ago today, the Italian electrical engineer and inventor Marconi, applied for the first ever patent for a system of wireless communication. He is credited as the inventor of radio, and shared the 1909 Nobel Prize in Physics for contributions to the development of wireless telegraphy.

At age 20, Guglielmo began experimenting with a method to transmit and receive messages over a distance without wires at the family home—first, across the room, then down the corridor, then into the fields. A breakthrough came when Marconi discovered that a much greater range could be achieved by raising the height of his antenna and grounding his instruments—the system was capable of transmitting signals up to 2 miles (3.2 km), even over hills.

When Italian officials ignored his letter and instead evoked an insane asylum, Marconi left his birthplace of Bologna to go to England where he found the funds and support to convert his work into practical use. He became an entrepreneur, founding The Wireless Telegraph & Signal Company to innovate further.

His ‘Marconi’s Law’ is the empirical relation between length of antennas and maximum signaling distance of radio transmissions, but with over 800 patents, he moved into radar and shortwaves, and visual wave amplification too, as one of the founders of the BBC. Upon Marconi’s death in 1937, all the radio stations around the world kept 2 mins of silence.

WATCH a great bio about his equipment helping to save hundreds of people on the Titanic… (1896)

READ More Good News on this Day in History:

  • First smallpox vaccination in North America administered in Newfoundland (1800)
  • Charles Rolls, co-founder of Rolls-Royce became the first man to make a non-stop double crossing of the English Channel by plane (1910)
  • Queen Elizabeth II of Britain was crowned Queen of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand in the first major international event to be televised (1953)
  • Pope John Paul II returned to his native Poland, the first pontiff to visit a Communist country, and was cheered by millions as he fell on his knees at the airport and kissed the ground (1979)
  • The film Dead Poets Society premiered starring Robin Williams about an elite conservative Vermont boarding school and an English teacher who inspires his students through his lessons of poetry (1989)
  • Ken Jennings began his 74-game winning streak on the TV game show Jeopardy! (2004)
Photo by Siebbi, CC

Happy Birthday to The Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts turns 80 years old today. Originally trained as a graphic artist, and self-taught on drums, he joined the band and doubled as designer of their record covers and tour-stages. An aficionado of jazz, he tours with his own group, the Charlie Watts Quintet, and appears at London’s prestigious jazz club Ronnie Scott’s. (1941)

Marvin Hamlisch wins 3 Oscars in 1974 (with Debbi Reynolds and Cher)

And, 77 years ago today, composer Marvin Hamlisch, who is one of only two people to have ever won the Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony awards, along with a Pulitzer Prize, was born. The New York pianist wrote some of the best-loved and most enduring songs and scores in movie history, including the awarding winning songs The Way We Were, The Entertainer (from The Sting), and Nobody Does it Better (from The Spy Who Loved Me). Hamlisch was also the primary conductor for the Pittsburgh Pops from 1995 until his 2012 death. (1944)

Happy 66th Birthday to comedian and screen writer Dana Carvey. The SNL alum from Montana brought to life Garth on Wayne’s World, and became renown for his impressions of George Bush, Al Pacino, Paul McCartney and many more. For his work as a cast member on Saturday Night Live from 1986 to 1993, he earned Emmy nominations five consecutive years, with a win the final year.

His breakout character was the smug and pious ‘Church Lady’, which Carvey said was based on a women he knew from church while growing up, who would keep track of other churchgoers’ attendance. WATCH him play Wheel of Impressions on the Tonight Show… (1955)

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