SIRG Meeting 29 May 2.00. Elzabeth Bruton on: Singing arcs and oscillations: Henri Poincaré’s contributions to British wireless developments in the early twentieth century
The May Sirg meeting will be on Wednesday 29 May at 2.00 in the Systems Seminar Room in the Venables Building. (Note the change from our usual venue.)
Elizabeth Bruton (Leeds University, firstname.lastname@example.org) will speak on
Singing arcs and oscillations: Henri Poincaré’s contributions to British wireless developments in the early twentieth century
A re-evaluation of the work of French mathematician and physicist Henri Poincaré in early wireless developments was the subject of a 2010 paper by Ginoux and Petitgirard. This scholarly study was centred on Poincaré’s “forgotten” wireless telegraphy conference in 1908, in particular the mathematical equations produced by Poincaré which were required for the establishment of a stable regime of maintained oscillations in the singing arc, a form of wireless signal detection. The singing arc was initially developed as a form of electrical oscillator and lighting by English physicist William Duddell, and was further adapted into the first wireless transmitter to produce continuous waves by Danish physicist Valdemar Poulsen. In this paper, I will trace the dissemination of Poincaré’s publications on wireless including “Les Oscillations Electriques” (1894) and “Théorie de Maxwell et les oscillations hertziennes” (1899) in Britain and discuss how English translations of Poincaré’s works became part of the accepted canon of wireless publications in Britain. I will further examine the influence of Poincaré’s work upon British wireless pioneers with examples including Duddell and Oliver Heaviside. In conclusion, I will show that Poincaré’s 1908 conference formed the keystone of his work in the formative years of wireless communications stretching from the end of the nineteenth century up to World War One and beyond.