The First Electronic Church of America
We have put on line a new web page honoring Russian scientist and inventor Alexander Stepanovitch Popov and his contributions to the creation of the world's first working radio communications systems and his role as one of inventors of Electronics.
In this new on line biography, Popov's deserved credit in creating wireless electronic communications ("radio") has been given validation by no less a source than the official history of Communications-Electronics in the United States Navy, written in 1963 at the height of the Cold War - when the US military certainly had no reason to give undeserved credit to a Russian scientist.
The Navy history cites information from other publications mentioning Popov, dating back to 1927. But the US Navy also apparently relied on"unofficial" sources for its study of Popov's wireless work, because the Navy history includes insightful anonymous personal glimpses of Popov's working habits and personality, insights most likely gathered somewhere along the line as both sides of the Cold War routinely collected personal details - the easiest intelligence to gather - about their enemies' leaders and innovators.
The book was written by a Navy Captain with an introduction by Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz, and published by the Office of Naval History. One assumes they had convincing reason for giving credit to the often-derided claim that Popov had independently "invented" a wireless radio system even before Marconi (by several months).
I've often said of Popov - who was working on a way to detect thunderstorms and save lives when he came across wireless signalling - that he invented radio but didn't think it was important enough to mention to anyone, and once he did, he left it to others to pursue the discovery and went back to thunderstorms. (FECHA would like to know of information regarding his work in that area).
It's my belief the Russian military naturally saw Popov's creation as a tremendous new weapon and kept further research a state secret after the intial May 7, 1895 announcement to the Russian Physicist Society in Saint Petersburg when Popov stated he had transmitted and received signals at a distance of about 1800-feet (Eng.).
Marconi's first wireless success came late in the summer of 1895.
Had Popov been an entrepreneur in in Western Europe and Marconi been a researcher in Czarist Russia, certainly their fortunes and standings in the history books would have been reversed.
The invention of wireless electronic communications - radio transmissions and reception - is also said to have been the starting point for what we today know as "Electronics," a point virtually ignored in the scant coverage in the 1995 100th anniversary of wireless electronics communications - or as it was known in most of the world, the Marconi Centennial.
(There were wireless smoke, fire, mirrors, flags, hand signals, etc. before that, so who knows who invented the first "wireless communications system"?)
But maybe now is the time to recognize Marconi and Popov for what they truly were - the Inventors of Electronics.
And, to recognize what an incredible stroke of Fate it was that a discovery that would impact the world as much as electronics has, would come almost simultaneously from two such diverse people as Popov and Marconi: one of them said to have been devinely preordained for his discoveries in the laboratory, the other said to have realized his discovery while meditating on a mountaintop.
The Popov web page used additional resources for the biography, including multiple translations of official Russian biographies of Popov. Popov worked at the Faculty of Physics in Saint Petersburgh and the new Popov web page includes a link to that school's home page as well as links to the Russian Academy of Sciences and an index of Russian web hosts and on line clients.