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Alexander Stepanovich Popov, Physics Stamps

Alexander Stepanovich Popov (Russian: Александр Степанович Попов) (March 4, 1859 - December 31, 1905) was a Russian physicist who was the first to publicly demonstrate transmission of radio waves (March 1896) but didn't care to apply for a patent for this great invention.

Born in the village Turinskiye Rudniki (now Krasnoturinsk, Sverdlovsk Oblast) in the Ural mountains as the son of a priest, he became interested in natural sciences early in his youth. His father ensured that Alexander received a good education at the seminary at Perm, and later studying physics at the St. Petersburg university. After graduation in 1882 he started to work as a laboratory assistant at the university. However due to the bad funding of the university he changed to a teaching job at the Russian Navy's Torpedo School in Kronstadt on Kotlin Island.

Beginning in the early 1890s he continued the experiments of Heinrich Hertz. In 1894 he built his first radio receiver, the coherer. Further refined as a lightning detector, he presented it to the Russian Physical and Chemical Society on May 7, 1895 — the day has been celebrated in the Russian Federation as "Radio Day". The paper on his findings was published the same year. In March 1896, he effected transmission of radio waves between different campus buildings in St Petersburg. Upon learning about Guglielmo Marconi's system, he effected ship-to-shore communication over a distance of 6 miles in 1898 and 30 miles in 1899.

In 1901 Alexander Popov was appointed as professor at the Electrotechnical Institute which now bears his name. In 1905 he was elected as the director of the institute. At the end of the year he became seriously ill, being very uneasy about the suppression of a beginning student movement. He died on December 31 (January 13 in Gregorian calendar) of brain hemorrhage.

Resources

Alexander Popov: Russia's Radio Pioneer by James P. Rybak

Short biographies of Popov

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