Telecommunications

Self-taught physicist who pioneered the theory of telecommunications honored with a blue plaque

English Heritage has unveiled a blue plaque in honor of the self-taught physicist who pioneered the theory of telecommunications.

Oliver Heaviside, famous for his theories on advanced electronic communications, was memorialized outside his terraced house in Camden, north London, where he continued his education after leaving school aged 16.

His most notable work includes the groundbreaking interpretation of James Clerk Maxwell’s Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism, bridging the gap between telecommunications theory and practice.

Howard Spencer, Senior Historian at English Heritage, said: ‘Oliver Heaviside was a physicist whose theories framed one of mankind’s greatest recent technological advancements – the development and advancement of electrical communications.

“The cell phone in your pocket and the old-fashioned landline at home owe a lot to Heaviside’s work.”

English Heritage described his achievements as remarkable given that they were achieved without the benefit of higher education or social privilege and the fact that he had been left almost entirely deaf by scarlet fever as a child.

“He is an excellent example of the incredible achievements of ordinary working people in London and English Heritage is delighted to honor him with a blue plaque,” Spencer added.

Memorial plaque for Patrick Steptoe, one of the scientists behind the first test tube baby (Boourn Hall Fertility Clinic/PA)

The physicist, mathematician and electrical engineer would later be named in the musical Cats.

In the show, “Up up to the Heaviside layer” refers to Heaviside’s discovery not of a cat’s paradise but of a reflective layer in the upper atmosphere that allowed radio waves to be “bent” around. Earth.

Heaviside joins the likes of naturalist Charles Darwin, fertility treatment pioneer Patrick Steptoe, and decryptor turned computer pioneer Alan Turing, with blue plaques.

English Heritage said 15% of the more than 950 official blue plaques across London are dedicated to scientists.

The charity encourages people to nominate London-based scientists of the past, such as Heaviside, for a plaque.