Sir Oliver Lodge
- a summary of the life of Sir Oliver Lodge, the radio pioneer with little formal training, but a large impact on radio communications technology (including the coherer) as well as other areas of physics and psychic phenomena.
Although the name of Sir Oliver Lodge is not known in many circles, he was nevertheless a very important pioneer in the development of the new technology of wireless or radio transmission. Oliver Lodge is credited with a number of inventions without which the development of the newly discovered technology of radio communications would have been much slower.
In his life, Oliver Lodge succeeded in many areas and he achieved world fame for his pioneering work in radio communications and was one of the first to transmit a message by wireless. He also performed many other investigations into Wireless technology and coined the name "coherer" for this early form of radio signal detector. In another area of is researches he invented electric spark ignition, and he also undertook a considerable amount of research into psychic phenomena.
Oliver Lodge was born at Penkhull near Stoke-on-Trent on 12th June 1851. His parents named Oliver Lodge (1826-1884) and Grace (1826-1879) were from middle class backgrounds. His father had started his career as a medical student, but eventually became a commercial representative for a clay pottery company.
The young Oliver Lodge was sent to a boarding school to start his education, but he left school in 1865 at the age of 14. He first assisted his father in running a business selling clays and glazes to potteries. Despite much of his time being taken up assisting his father, the young Oliver Lodge had a keen interest in science and even conducted experiments in his bedroom after his parents moved to a new house in Wolstanton.
The real move into a scientific career started when he moved to London and lodged with an aunt. From here, he was able to attend lectures on a variety of scientific subjects at London University. These lectures really captured the imagination of Lodge, who became very absorbed in them.
When his time in London came to an end, Lodge returned home, but was able to study at the Wedgwood Institute, Burslem, and then a few other places before he returned to study again in London, when he obtained first his bachelor's degree in 1875 and then his Doctor of Science in 1877. Following this he wrote his first book that was entitled: Elementary Mechanics. While he was studying for these degrees he had to support himself and he did this by working as a laboratory assistant and he also did some teaching.
Sir Oliver Lodge had a lifetime belief in psychic matters and before he died he said that he would prove the existence of an afterlife by making public appearances to the living after his death. Sadly Lodge died on 22nd of August 1940, but since then no such appearances of him or communications from him have been received. Lodge is buried at St. Michael's Church, Wilsford (Lake), Wiltshire.
Sir Oliver Lodge will be chiefly remembered for his researches into radio communications. Possibly his major achievement was the improvements he made to the coherer that enabled the radio communications of the time to be improved considerably. He is also remembered as an important scientist, possibly one of the great pioneers in radio communications.
By Ian Poole
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