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Oliver Heaviside

Born: 18-May-1850
Birthplace: Camden Town, London, England
Died: 3-Feb-1925
Location of death: Torquay, Devon, England
Cause of death: unspecified
Remains: Buried, Colley End Road Cemetery, Paignton, England

Gender: Male
Religion: Unitarian
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Asexual
Occupation: Engineer, Scientist

Nationality: England
Executive summary: Kennelly-Heaviside layer

Self-taught British electrical engineer Oliver Heaviside used James Clerk Maxwell's equations to explain the functions of conductance, impedance, and self inductance (and he is believed to have coined the terms) in cable telegraphy. To explain the first successful radio broadcasts across the Atlantic Ocean in 1901, he theorized that radio waves are "caught" by a layer of the Earth's atmosphere and carried along above the planet's curvature, instead of being projected straight into space. This atmospheric layer, also predicted by American physicist Arthur E. Kennelly, is now known as the Kennelly-Heaviside layer.

Heaviside's uncle, Charles Wheatstone, invented the telegraph, and as a young man Heaviside worked as a telegrapher. His hearing was damaged by a childhood bout of scarlet fever, and his deafness grew progressively more profound as he aged, forcing him to quit working at the age of 24, after which he turned to science. Described by contemporaries as reclusive and abrasive in character, Heaviside never married or dated women but also considered men to be "horrid creatures." He apparently held himself in low esteem, as for the last decades of his life he signed most of his correspondence and papers "Oliver Heaviside, worm."

Father: Thomas Heaviside (wood engraver, d. 1894)
Mother: Rachel Elizabeth West Heaviside (d. 1896)
Brother: Charles Heaviside (music shop owner)

    High School: Camden House School, London, England (1865)

    Faraday Medal 1922
    Great Northern Telegraph Company Telegrapher (1870-74)
    American Academy of Arts and Sciences Foreign Member
    American Institute of Electrical Engineers Foreign Member
    Royal Society 1891
    Lunar Crater Heaviside (10.4 S, 167.1 E, 165 km.)
    Martian Crater Heaviside (70.7 S 95.3 W 87 km.)
    English Ancestry
    Risk Factors: Deafness

Author of books:
Electromagnetic Theory (1893, three volumes, with fourth volume incomplete)


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