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Arthur E. Kennelly

AKA Arthur Edwin Kennelly

Born: 17-Dec-1861
Birthplace: Colaba, India
Died: 18-Jun-1939
Location of death: Boston, MA
Cause of death: unspecified

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Physicist

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Kennelly-Heaviside layer

Self-taught physicist Arthur E. Kennelly was an office boy for the Institution of Electrical Engineers in his early teens, then worked briefly as a telegraph operator. He was then hired as an electrician for the Edison General Electric Company, and while employed by Thomas Edison, Kennelly and Harold P. Brown were assigned to develop an AC-driven device for executions, as Edison wanted to show that alternating current was more dangerous than his preferred direct current electric system. As a result, Kennelly and Brown are sometimes credited as inventors of the electric chair, but Kennelly later made more important contributions to science. He formed Houston & Kennelly in partnership with electric engineer Edwin J. Houston, and described the reflective band in the ionosphere now called the Kennelly-Heaviside layer, which eventually made transoceanic wireless transmissions possible. He was also involved in the development of radio wave theory and alternating current, including research on electrical impedance.

Father: David Joseph Kennelly (Naval officer, b. 1831, d. 1907)
Mother: Catherine Gibson Heycock (b. 1839, d. 1863)
Mother: Ellen Vivian Kennelly (stepmother)
Sister: Zaidia Kennelly (half-sister)
Brother: David J.Kennelly, Jr. (half-brother)
Brother: Nell K.Kennelly (half-brother)
Brother: Spencer M.Kennelly (half-brother)
Wife: Julia Grice Kennelly (m. 1903, d. 1939)
Son: Reginald Grice Kennelly (thermoplastics engineer)

    High School: University College School, London (attended)
    Professor: Electrical Engineering, Harvard University (1902-30)
    Professor: Electric Communication, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1913-24)

    IEEE Edison Medal 1933
    IEEE Medal of Honor 1932
    Carnegie Institution for Science Researcher (1924-30)
    American Institute of Electrical Engineers President (1898-1900)
    Institution of Engineering and Technology President of Institution of Electrical Engineers (1916)
    National Academy of Sciences
    National Research Council
    Naturalized US Citizen
    Irish Ancestry

Author of books:
Practical Notes for Electrical Students (1890, with Henry David Wilkinson)
Electric Heating (1895, with Edwin J. Houston)
Alternating Electric Currents (1895, with Houston)
Electrical Engineering Leaflets (1895, two volumes, with Houston)
Electro-Dynamic Machinery for Continuous Currents (1896, with Houston)
The Electric Motor and the Transmission Power (1896, with Houston)
Electric Street Railways (1896, with Houston)
Electric Arc Lighting (1902, with Houston)
Wireless Telegraphy and Wireless Telephony: An Elementary Treatise (1909)
Artificial Electric Lines: Their Theory, Mode of Construction and Uses (1917)
Electrical Vibration Instruments: An Elementary Textbook (1923)
The Application of Hyperbolic Functions to Electrical Engineering Problems (1925)
Electric Lines and Nets: Their Theory and Electrical Behavior (1928)
Vestiges of Pre-Metric Weights and Measures Persisting in Metric-System Europe, 1926-1927 (1928)


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