Talk:Heinrich Hertz

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High traffic

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Lived from 1857-1894 —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 19:46, 27 February 2003 (UTC)

Metre, not Meter[edit]

Whoever wrote this article is a complete retard. They wrote "meter" instead of "metre". This is a SCIENTIFIC article, so measurements should be written in the correct, scientific way. You were writing about meters and metres in the same article and spelling the words the same. Why should anyone trust what this guy wrote when he clearly knows so little about science that he can't even spell a basic unit of measurement?

Huey45 07:42, 26 October 2006 (UTC)

Hey, Huey, calm down! Make your point without the character assassination! 20:28, 30 March 2007 (UTC)

Thus all Americans are retards ... no, there is no correct scientific way of spelling, it's a dialects issue and the article has been in US Eng since these edits by an anon. JIMp talk·cont 08:55, 29 June 2009 (UTC)

Nothing, I guess[edit]

Wireless application quote. I don't believe the quote. The word wireless was coined to describe radio sets for communication over distance without wires as in previous telegraphy. plainly, if he used the word 'wireless' then the application existed! I note there is no source listed. wiki rubbish! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:16, 15 September 2007 (UTC)

Ah, and here I thought the deletion was by someone nameless, accountless, hence unaccountable and presumably thoughtless. Anyway, a quick Google turns up
“It’s of no use whatsoever,” he replied. “This is just an experiment that proves Maestro Maxwell was right - we just have these mysterious electromagnetic waves that we cannot see with the naked eye. But they are there.” “So, what next?” asked one of his students. Hertz shrugged. He was a modest man, of no pretensions and, apparently, little ambition. “Nothing, I guess.” [1]
which uses "electromagnetic" rather than "wireless," hence is not subject to the objection. Presumably the "wireless" quote is some Wiki editor's paraphrase rather than a direct quote. Alas, this version too, though purporting to be a direct quote, is in English yet provides no reason to think the professor was speaking in English, so it too is subject to suspicion of paraphrase. Jim.henderson 22:17, 16 September 2007 (UTC)
Here is a source for a paraphrase closer to what you had here; but it's not sourced, so hard to check. See the book search snippets for 1959 and 1969 non-quote versions and other possibilities. Dicklyon 22:47, 16 September 2007 (UTC)

'Nothing, \i guess' is totally different. Hertz is being modest about his achievement and its place in science. The wireless quote seems to be a recent invention which fits nicely with things like Watson's assessment of the market for computers. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:06, 17 September 2007 (UTC)

Discourse with people who won't sign in is often a nuisance, even when they have something useful to say. Anyway I looked in three other language versions of this article, and was surprised that the English is both the longest and the most thorough. My meager supply of German does not show that it discusses this matter at all, while the French version does, offering a quote much like the "none whatsoever" quote that we have, but in a separate little "Anecdote" section. Anyway it seems the question is well covered in our English version. Maybe we should offer a little more about the bright young fellow (Marconi) who took the now obvious step from the philosophical idea of invisible waves to the practical use for telegraphy. Certainly our anonymous editor was right to remove the "wireless" quote from the infobox, merely wrong to say nothing in the edit comment about why. Jim.henderson 15:11, 17 September 2007 (UTC)

Jewish ancestry[edit]

Bizarre article. It ends by mentioning the Nazi revisionism and that his FATHER's family was Jewish. Yet it begins apparently mentioning his Jewish mother, although that entire paragraph jumps between family members referring to each as "him", "he" or "Hertz" making it impossible to tell which family member: "Early years Hertz was born in Hamburg, then a sovereign state of the German Confederation, into a prosperous and cultured Hanseatic family. His father, Gustav Ferdinand Hertz, was a writer and later a senator. His (Heinrich's or Gustov's?)mother was the former Anna Elisabeth Pfefferkorn (Jewish). His (?) paternal grandfather David Wolff Hertz (1757–1822), fourth son of Benjamin Wolff Hertz, moved to Hamburg in 1793 where he made his living as a jeweller. He (?) and his (?) wife Schöne Hertz (1760–1834) were buried in the former Jewish cemetery in Ottensen. Their first son Wolff Hertz (1790–1859), was chairman of the Jewish community. His (?!) brother Hertz Hertz(!-confuse us more-Who's on first?) (1797–1862) was a respected businessman. He (?) was married to Betty Oppenheim, the daughter of the banker Salomon Oppenheim, from Cologne. Hertz (!?-which one? Is this a first name or last name?) converted from Judaism to Christianity and took the name Heinrich David Hertz.[3] While studying at the Gelehrtenschule des Johanneums in Hamburg, he showed an aptitude for sciences as well as languages, learning Arabic and Sanskrit. He studied sciences and engineering in the German cities of Dresden, Munich and Berlin, where he studied under Gustav R. Kirchhoff and Hermann von Helmholtz."

Here are some sources that would prove it: 1. 2. 3. 4. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:04, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

Nobody has questioned his ancestry. But his father converted to Christianity, and I see no source saying what Heinrich's religion was, so let's don't proclaim one for him. Dicklyon (talk) 19:16, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

But we are talking only about his ethnicity. It seems that you don't understand that jewish is an ethnicity and judaism is a religion, than even if the family converted he remains jewish by race, because thats something you are been born with and can't change. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:54, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

In wikipeida, do we normally categorize people by their ancestry and ethnicity? I don't think so. Dicklyon (talk) 20:55, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

Of course we do, and i can show you plenty of examples if you want. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:06, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

Well I'm going to back off and let other editors comment on this. It seems strange to me to be applying ethnic/religious/ancestry labels to someone who didn't apply such to themselves. Dicklyon (talk) 01:46, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
3rd Opinion It's not appropriate to say he practices Judaism but he's Jewish. Elizabeth Taylor's article says she's a English American actress, however she converted to Judaism to marry Eddie Fisher, but I don't think that makes her a Jew, but she is listed in the American Jew category, but perhaps she should be in the English American Jew category to be precise.. Men and women routinely convert to Catholicism because one parent insist they can't marry outside the relition; this doesn't change the ethnicity of the person who converted from being a baptist, methodists, etc. and the same should be applied to this gentleman--Ccson (talk) 17:06, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
It seems that you have misinterpreted the question. Hertz did not convert from Judaism; his father did. And do we know anything about the ethnicity of his mother? Does a father of ex-Judaism make a jewist son? What is this ethnicity labeling about anyway? Dicklyon (talk) 17:25, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
My answer and ratonale remain the same no matter who converted. Barack Obamas mother is white and his father is Nigeria; Oboma's has gone to great lengths to say he's a christian, not a muslim, and he was raised by his mother and her family, probably in a predominantly white neighhborhood, maybe all white for those who consider him to be white. In what category would you place Obama? Ethnicity labeling is about every print or television report only asks could he be the first African-American or black president, nothing about being the 43rd white president; good queston; why are labeling Mr. Obama?--Ccson (talk) 20:42, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
I am familiar with that strange convention that any "black" ancestor makes one "black". Is it the same with "jewish"? And what other ethnicities? Source? Dicklyon (talk) 21:40, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
You asked for the ethnicity of Hertz's mother as if that missing varable would help in this disussion on Hertz (particulary if she wasn't jewish as his father certainly was). I simply gave a current example of a man's ancestry for which we know [Nigerian father and a white mother], and posed the question on how you would categorize Obama. You raised the question, I'm just curious how that information would affect this discussion. See Irving Berlin whose second wife was Irish American and how she and her children by Berlin were snubbed by society for marrying someone Jewish. The article has sources but they're not inline citations.--Ccson (talk) 00:41, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

3rd Opinion Personally I think that, depending on when he converted to Christianity, he should not be added to the Jewish category. If he was only briefly Jewish and converted fairly early on in life he probably shouldn't be added, however if he waited until he was middle aged or so I think he should be added. If he converted early on, I think instead of being added to the Jewish category I think he should be added to a category of people of Jewish decent if one exists. This subject is apparently the subject of much debate all over the Jewish community (see the article Who is a Jew?), so it is not surprising that its difficult for people to agree here. --Nn123645 (talk) 20:17, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

Pay attention. He never converted. His father and paternal grandparents converted to Christianity. And it turns out his mother was not jewish, so that pretty well clinches in from the point of view of jewish law at least. Right? Dicklyon (talk) 21:40, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
Ahh, ok. Yes, that makes sense, I agree with removing him from the category. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Nn123645 (talkcontribs) 00:41, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

All right, than if you insist for the time being i won't categorize him, buts if its fine with you i would just mention his religion change in the article. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:14, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

Suggested edit:
This subject matter is somewhat sensitive, of course; but the exchange of views in the thread above -- and the concurrent edits as this was being posted -- miss an important point. No matter how it might be re-worded, the gratuitous supplemental material about Hertz' mother doesn't fit in with the rest of the paragraph:
Heinrich Rudolf Hertz was born in Hamburg, Germany on February 22, 1857, to Gustav Ferdinand Hertz and Anna Elisabeth Pfefferkorn of Jewish orign that converted to being Catholic ....
This one-paragraph discussion of Hertz' "early years" could present the same information in three short paragraphs: (a) parents marriage, (b) further background data concerning his father, and (c) further background data concerning his mother. What's missing from this section is the "why"? Why and how were this child's parents important in the development of a man who would become world-famous? Much is understandably implied from what is revealed about Hertz' father; but the crucial point here is that much is also implied by that terse phrase having to do with his mother's religion or ethnicity .... Aha. Do you see my point?
Without more, there are implied concerns which may be trivial, but which are none-the-less likely to continue arousing close scrutiny and endless further questions. To illustrate my point, please consider this oblique example of religious conversion:
Kuki Shūzō converted to Catholicism at age 23 in 1911 (Meiji 44); and he was baptized in Tokyo as Franciscus Assisiensis Kuki Shūzō. The idealism and introspection implied by this decision were early evidence of issues which would have resonance in the characteristic mindset of the mature man.<.ref>Nara, Hiroshi. (2004). The Structure of Detachment: the Aesthetic Vision of Kuki Shūzō with a translation of "Iki no kōzō," pp. 96-97.<./ref>
The implications which follow Kuki Shūzō's religious conversion don't inspire the kind of questions which have been raised here because of something in the life of Anna Elisabeth Pfefferkorn before she became Heinrich Hertz's mother. --Ooperhoofd (talk) 16:24, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
You've lost me. But do ahead and do some edits, with sources, and I'll see. As far as I know, he mother was not of jewish ancestry, and his father's family was converted before he was born, so there's probably not a lot that needs to be said. Dicklyon (talk) 16:40, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

Perhaps one of our more interested editors was mistaken to ask my opinion, but here it is anyway. Seems to me, the precedents of Felix Mendelsohn and Benjamin Disraeli apply, despite differences in details of sectarian and ethnic affiliation. Analogies to 20th century figures are less relevant. The present bio subject was Jewish by paternal ancestry, Catholic by upbringing, and whatever his opinions on religious questions may have been, they are not why people in later centuries are interested in him. The text should mention both his ethnic and his religious affiliation very briefly, and he should be included in the relevant sectarian and ethnic scientist categories. If we're voting, then that's my vote, but I don't have a lot more to say about the matter. Jim.henderson (talk) 16:53, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

The German article, shorter anyway, does not mention any Jewish aspect. Besides, the web pages given at the top here pretty much reference each other. One is taken from an older version of en-Wiki itself, the page at is surely a private user page, yet uses it as a reference. Folks, please respect WP:V and WP:RS, use proper sources, biographies written by historians, starting e.g. with recent Google Books [2] or Scholar [3] After 1933, the Nazis tried to get rid of many kinds of people, communists and social democrats being the first targets. One strategy was to simply call somebody Jewish, and Gustav Ludwig Hertz was ousted this way, despite colleagues voicing their opinion, see e.g. Physics and National Socialism: An Anthology of Primary Sources, By Klaus Hentschel [4] The Who's Who in Jewish History, By Joan Comay [5] barely mentions Heinrich, only repeating the Gustav L. H. case. So, mention one or two sentences that can be properly sourced, but don't copy speculations from dubious web pages, where anybody can write anything.

These seem to be reputable recent sources:

  • Heinrich Hertz: Eine Biographie, By Albrecht Fölsing, Published 1997, Hoffmann und Campe, 605 pages, ISBN 3455112129 [6]
  • Heinrich Hertz: Classical Physicist, Modern Philosopher, By Davis Baird, R. I. G. Hughes, Alfred Nordmann, Published 1998, Springer Verlag, 336 pages, ISBN 079234653X [7]
  • The Creation of Scientific Effects: Heinrich Hertz and Electric Waves, By Jed Z. Buchwald, Published 1994 University of Chicago, 496 pages, ISBN 0226078876 [8]

-- Matthead  DisOuß   17:08, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

I say yes to the suggested edit, so for the time being i will keep on looking for different sources to prove the point, that despite the comment above his father was jewish and his mother was not, but about the nazis removing his portrait in hamburg he had nothing to do with communism or socalism, and the october Bolshevic revolution was 24 years after he died, so it was only because of his backround. User:zivb2007 —Preceding comment was added at 17:38, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

Further to Suggested edit: The "Legacy" section was modified slightly to include a new sub-heading for "Nazi revisionism." Any controversy about Hertz' parents is appropriately discussed in this setting. In my view, the text which seemed out-of-place in earlier versions. Nothing has been deleted, but context makes all the difference.
This information about the role of religion in the lives of Hertz's parents -- without anything more to establish create a clear context -- can only be construed as intrusive and unwelcome POV; but the same set of disparaged facts become valid when the text can be reviewed in a relevant perspective. If this doesn't make sense, please let me try to explain again using different words. I hope this re-working of the text somehow manages to garner general agreement so that this thread can close. --Ooperhoofd (talk) 21:24, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
That looks sensible to me; it says it all plainly in a reasonable context, and clarifies why the article does not belong in the "jewish" categories. Dicklyon (talk) 22:28, 11 January 2008 (UTC)
looks good to me ... reasonable context. The heading is subheading is alil redundant ... could be incorporated into death and afterwards ... but it's ok that I am not gonna change it now... J. D. Redding 04:14, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

I think we should mention his parents's backround in "early years" and the remove of the portrait in "nazi revisionism".What do you people say? talk —Preceding unsigned comment added by Zivb2007 (talkcontribs) 00:23, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

What about sub-categories of Jews? Orthodox, Conservative, Jews who converted, etc? RMFan1 (talk) 16:58, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

Neither, as he was not of Jewish faith. In general, folks, please use only well-sourced statements about Hertz himself. What others did decades later is of low importance. Too much speculation going on here.-- Matthead  DisOuß   17:15, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

Excuse me, but this ain't far away from dumb or childish (depending on the way the claimant admits their age). How about writing which salad he prefered, or the circumference for his waist? I'm sure such information would help for a true fanship of Hertz's, such as a separate wiki site or a H. Hertz forum. I really appreciate the fact that Jews look after Jews with so much care, and that a bunch of encyclopedic sites about Jews around the world exist, but this is way too much for a general article. Wikipedia is not the right place to write any statement just because it was already stated somewhere else. (Impy4ever (talk) 22:13, 13 January 2008 (UTC))

It's not clear whose suggestion you are intending to berate here, but I pretty much agree anyway. We typically get two kinds of people wanting to label someone as Jewish: pro-Jewish people who want to make sure that Jews get credit for something, and anti-Jewish people who want to label someone to disparage them. We need to not support either of these, but stick to reporting significant facts. Since Hertz's Jewish ancestry became a significant fact in his and his family's history in Germany, it's worth a neutral mention; but not much more; it certainly doesn't put him into a Jewish category. Dicklyon (talk) 22:26, 13 January 2008 (UTC)
The article by McCormack in the authoritative professional reference Dictionary of Scientific Biography (v.6, p.340) . has the following first paragraph "Hertz was born into a prosperous and cultured Hanseatic family. His father, Gustav F. Hertz, was a barrister and later a senator: His mother was the former Anna Elisabeth Pfefferkorn. He had three younger brothers and one younger sister. Hertz was Lutheran, although his father’s family was Jewish (Philipp Lenard, Hertz’s first and only assistant and afterward a fervent Nazi, conceded that one of Germany’s great men of science had “Jewish blood”). " DGG (talk) 00:53, 25 January 2008 (UTC)

Have a look turkish talk art From English article "In 1892, an infection was diagnosed (after a bout of severe migraines) and Hertz underwent some operations to correct the illness. He died of Wegener's granulomatosis at the age of 36 in Bonn, Germany in 1894, and was buried in Ohlsdorf, Hamburg at the Jewish cemetery.[6]

Hertz's wife, Elizabeth Hertz (maiden name: Elizabeth Doll), did not remarry. Heinrich Hertz left two daughters, Joanna and Mathilde. Subsequently, all three women left Germany in the 1930s and went to England, after the rise of Adolf Hitler. Charles Susskind interviewed Mathilde Hertz in the 1960s and he later published a book on Heinrich Hertz. Heinrich Hertz's daughters never married and he does not have any descendants, according to the book by Susskind."

22.02.2012 Google's doodle is Rudolf Hertz as google did before, most of the doodle character's root is Jewish. Did you also notice that ? Why google do that ,Albert Einstein and others(showmen,artist etc.). Some people pay for that to google or google do that for what? I really wonder. why? As if there is a deep operation.' Davutgurbuz 08:57, 22 Şubat 2012 (UTC)

You discuss Hertz Jewish family background which seems to be correctly described, although I am not yet sure who in the family converted to a Christian faith. Father? Son? Or maybe a grandfather? However there is another serious mistake in the presentation: It says that Hertz was Lutheran which would be normal for someone from a Hanseatic family. Why do you write that his father converted to Catholicism? What is the source? This makes no sense at all. It implies three religions in the family: Father Catholic with a Jewish history and son Lutheran - as the majority in Hamburg. This would be extremely unusual. My guess is that the father might have converted to Protestantism (that is he became Lutheran) rather than to Catholicism in order to have the same religion as his wife and bring up the children with a common faith. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:40, 22 February 2012 (UTC)

Heinrich Hertz's parents were Gustav Ferdinand Hertz and Anna Elisabeth Pfefferkorn. Gustav Hertz was a Jew who converted to become a Lutheran. Also is his Mother jewish, the Name Pfefferkorn is definitely a jewish Surname! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:05, 2 February 2013 (UTC)

This must be said. In Fact. Jews stays Jews. Whatever the Religion is. Heinrich Hertz came from jewish People and this is the Point. And also many others, Albert Einstein, Paul Ehrlich and many more! The Germans think since World War II. All inteligent Jews were German. But this is wrong. Since World War II no more! Germans killed Jews in WW2. Over 8 Million in Europe. Over 6 Million is fact and over 2 Milion are missing. Also was the german Martin Luther (1483 – 1546) a Jews Hater. He wrote Books like "On the Jews and Their Lies".

Unless someone intend to scream loudly I will try to remove the links to his Jewish heritage. The way the text reads at the moment it seems like pro-jews try fishing for anything resembling a Jew among successful individuals. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:34, 25 March 2015 (UTC)

He was a ethnic Jew and not a ethnic German, that is Fact! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:03, 25 March 2015 (UTC)
I see no justification for removing any references to Hertz's ethnicity or heritage. The comments above (especially those regarding the supposed "fishing" motivation) do nothing to inspire any such edit. Hertz's roots, and the treatment of his portrait, are very much part of his story, and should stay in the article. I strongly oppose the proposed removal. Hertz1888 (talk) 03:28, 26 March 2015 (UTC)

Mention SI unit in lead section[edit]

This article could be greatly improved for many (most?) readers by mentioning in the lead section that the SI unit for "cycles per second" hertz is named in honor of Heinrich Hertz. Covering this only in the legacy section doesn't give it the prominence its notability deserves. (sdsds - talk) 06:28, 27 July 2008 (UTC)

Agreed (almost four years later) and I will make the change and add some detail below as wellTjoeC (talk) 16:06, 22 February 2012 (UTC)

The unit should be spelled capitalized, as it is in the page used as a reference. In most cases in SI a capitalized unit means the unit is named for a person. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:01, 22 February 2012 (UTC)

By official convention, the name of the unit (hertz) when spelled out is not capitalized. but its abbreviation (Hz) is capitalized. Examples: 10 hertz = 10 Hz, or 1000 kilohertz = 1000 kHz = 1 MHz. The page used as a reference discusses a 1930 event and does not reflect current standards. Hertz1888 (talk) 21:09, 22 February 2012 (UTC)

Hertz, the pioneer of contact mechanics[edit]

Hello, I put in the entry for Hertz's contributions to creating the subject of contact mechanics which is of vast importance to tribology about a year ago. I am kind of sorry to say that, though the language of the section has been greatly improved, not much contribution has been made to the material. I was hoping to see someone mention how the Hertz-model for contact is used in deriving dry-contact friction models. If anyone is interested then, some helpful sources might be the Greenwood-Williamson model for aspirities, where they base their derivation on the original Hertzian model.

Could someone also describe the famous (among contact mechanics people) Derjaguin-Johnson (with Tabor as his tag team partner :-) ) battle of models? If it does not get done soon, I will document it. Johnson is pretty old now, and it should be okay to have a page on him too along with Tabor, Greenwood and McCool. PO!. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:13, 11 August 2008 (UTC)

I will add something here. I object to the phrase saying "the most significant failure of his theory was to neglect adhesion." There is no failure, and his theory works for a huge number of engineering applications. It is really only with the advent of nano-indentation, or polymer or bio-indentation, etc that adhesion is becoming important. Go ahead and mention something about small size scales, but in no way call this a failure. (talk) 20:33, 20 October 2008 (UTC)

Cause of death I[edit]

This article indicates that Hertz's death in 1894 was due to Wegener's granulomatosis. Wegener's was not a diagnosis until the 1930's. As someone who has Wegener's, I know how difficult it is to diagnose. People are still dying because they are not diagnosed in time to give them the treatment they need so I don't know how anyone could say definitively that he died of Wegener's granulomatosis. What a crock! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:37, 25 February 2009 (UTC)

"Had been dead for 26 years"?[edit]

Hey, I'm either missing something or there's a mistake in the Nazi revisionism section - the Nazis didn't came into power until 1933 by which time Hertz would have been dead for well over 30 years. Bonteburg (talk) 11:54, 6 March 2009 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Bonteburg (talkcontribs) 11:52, 6 March 2009 (UTC)

The reference is to a picture in the town hall in Hamburg which was removed by the Nazis. It was unfortunately very common that they investigated the background of historically important persons and then censored all people that were identified as being Jewish according to the Nazi definition. That included people that were no longer alive, but could be some sort of role model. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:44, 22 February 2012 (UTC)

That makes no sense. Why were there 60,000 Jewish Nazis then? (talk) 07:39, 20 April 2015 (UTC)

Inline references[edit]

When reading this article as part of my research for a report, I found it very annoying that the references are not numbered and referred to in the text, but rather itemized at the bottom of the article. Could the authors or other equally qualified people please fix this, as it makes research and referencing infinitely easier, especially since some of the articles have German titles. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:36, 5 January 2011 (UTC)

I'm removing the tag, no discussion on it. - Aaron Brenneman (talk) 00:59, 22 February 2012 (UTC)

Rewrite/delete "Repeat Hertz’s Experiments"[edit]

This article contains unedited extracts from

that - although experimentation, of course, is a good thing - probably should be deleted. (talk) 11:08, 11 January 2011 (UTC)

If you suspect copyright violation, quote the text in question here, or go to the trouble of looking at the history to see when it came in. It seems equally likely that it went from wikipedia to as the other way. Dicklyon (talk) 05:43, 22 February 2012 (UTC)

unclear section "Early Years"[edit]

I can't seem to figure out who was "Heinrich David Hertz" since his father was Gustav Ferdinand Hertz which is the one who converted (right?) so ho is this "Heinrich David Hertz" and why is he mentioned here? the whole section is cluttered with information that isn't written very clear — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:33, 5 December 2011 (UTC)

In addition to that, it seems odd that much is made of this Heinrich David Hertz, who apparantly did not achieve anything to warrant additional information, but the article does not contain that "our" Hertz was the uncle of Gustav Ludwig Hertz, who won the Nobel prize in Physics in 1925 (together with James Franck). — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:51, 22 February 2012 (UTC)

Also in the "Early years" section it reads "In recognition of his work, the unit of frequency — one cycle per second — is named the "hertz".". That should be rephrased to "In recognition of his work, the unit of frequency — the number of cycles per second — is named the "hertz"." — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:43, 22 February 2012 (UTC)

I don't know. But isn't a unit of measurement by self-definition - one - "a unit"? One hertz is in fact one cycle per second, not one "cycles" per second. I's confusing because hertz is both singular and plural.TjoeC (talk) 17:08, 22 February 2012 (UTC)

Hertz not hertz[edit]

Surely the SI unit is capitalise as Hertz not hertz. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Ferriescarie (talkcontribs) 07:43, 22 February 2012 (UTC)

The unit itself (the hertz) is not, but its abbreviation (Hz) is. More information, with examples, can be found here. Hertz1888 (talk) 07:59, 22 February 2012 (UTC)

Cause of death II[edit]

How did he die from a disease that wasn't described until 40 years after his death? (talk) 08:11, 22 February 2012 (UTC)

The disease existed before we recognised it as a unique diseaseEggilicious (talk) 10:42, 22 February 2012 (UTC)
The article about Heinrich Hertz indicates that he died of Wegener's granulomatosis. I have to tell you that, when he died, Wegener's granulomatosis was not even a diagnosis. It was not a diagnosis until the 1930s, so it is not possible to say that he died of Wegener's. It is difficult enough to diagnose today because the symptoms are so varied and different people suffering from it can have different symptoms. Many people still die because doctors are not familiar with this rare disease and so do not diagnose it in time to render proper medical treatment. I should know because I have it. To say definitively that Heinrich Hertz died of Wegener's is absolutely incorrect. (talk) 22:55, 22 February 2012 (UTC)

Please disambiguate displacement[edit]

I'm not sure which "displacement" is meant to be linked to. EdwardLane (talk) 18:01, 28 February 2012 (UTC)

unclear sentence re: contact mechanics[edit]

"So Hertz's research from his days as a lecturer, preceding his great work on electromagnetism, which he himself considered with his characteristic soberness to be trivial, has come down to the age of nanotechnology." Which does he consider trivial - his research from his days a lecturer, or his great work on electromagnetism? +|||||||||||||||||||||||||+ (talk) 03:34, 26 June 2012 (UTC)

This book snippet suggests that "almost trivial" should be associated with his earlier work as a lecturer. Dicklyon (talk) 03:46, 26 June 2012 (UTC)
Actually, Hertz felt there was nothing useful about his work with radio. I think it's mentioned in in Invention_of_radio#cite_note-70, next to the diagram in Invention_of_radio#Hertz. It's kind of funny how unimpressed Hertz was with his work. David Edward Hughes was famous for similar understatement, but Hughes seemed to at least be aware of the true importance of his work (and the concomitant financial rewards), despite habitually downplaying it. Hertz just seemed like a typical scientist doing science for the sake of science, and preferring to leave practical applications to someone else. Did I just say "concomitant"? Badon (talk) 04:08, 26 June 2012 (UTC)

Ohlsdorf cemetery...[edit] not a Jewish cemetery. See here. — Preceding unsigned comment added by The Inventor (talkcontribs) 12:50, 15 January 2013 (UTC)

That's correct. Actually, there are two cemetery sites, Ohlsdorf Cemetery and Ohlsdorf Jewish Cemetery. As Lutheranians, Heinrich Hertz and Gustav Hertz are both buried at Ohlsdorf Cemetery at Q24/Q25 row 53-58. --Matthiaspaul (talk) 03:05, 3 February 2013 (UTC)

Lead section wrongly claims that David Edward Hughes was first to demonstrate Maxwell's theory[edit]

This is not correct. Hughes may deserve credit as the first person to demonstrate radio transmission. But he did not demonstrate Maxwell's theory. In his article in the Electrician, Hughes admits (p. 40) he was not certain at the time whether he was dealing with rays or waves. A number of people were specifically attempting to verify Maxwell's electromagnetic wave theory at that time. Oliver Lodge described a series of experiments he performed with a Leyden jar and wires that clearly exhibited wave behavior. However, Lodge claimed that instead of immediately writing up and submitting his results for publication he left on vacation. When he returned, Hertz had already published and achieved worldwide fame.

Hertz fully deserves the credit he received as first to demonstrate (prove) Maxwell's theory. Hughes and Lodge deserve mention later in the article as researchers who fell short. Claudeb (talk) 21:42, 27 August 2013 (UTC)

I agree. A brief mention of David Edward Hughes in the section on electromagnetic research would be appropriate, but he need not be mentioned in the lead, and his unpublished contributions before Hertz need to be kept in perspective; he gives Hertz credit in his memoir for doing a much better job of characterizing the EM waves, which to Hughes were just a mystery. Dicklyon (talk) 23:33, 22 March 2014 (UTC)
Thank you. I should add that this is not about taking away from Hughes but about fully appreciating the magnitude of Hertz' accomplishment. Hertz noticed sparks that should not have occurred due to magnetic induction. He was brilliant in both his observations and his design of experiments to understand what was happening. He didn't just demonstrate radio waves, he showed in detail how they behave using simple technology. Claudeb (talk) 13:51, 23 March 2014 (UTC)
Claudeb: "Hughes admits (p. 40) he was not certain at the time whether he was dealing with rays or waves". Wave-particle duality was not known until much later. The choice of words of "rays" and "waves" isn't meaningful. It just indicated that Hughes wasn't sure what was happening in his first experiments in 1879. He mostly uses the word "waves", on the same page 40.
Badon, the best you have to go on is (below) "my view [was] of aerial electric waves." In the history of science, the credit doesn't go to the first person to observe something that they could not explain. Hertz could honestly say that he demonstrated that Maxwell had been right. He understood Maxwell's theory. He understood what it predicted. And he was the first person to show the world that the prediction was correct. Hughes could only say that he observed what he thought were waves--but by both his admission and yours he wasn't quite sure what it meant.Claudeb (talk) 20:43, 24 March 2014 (UTC)
Claudeb: Hertz demonstrated that Maxwell was right using Hughes's method for generating electromagnetic waves. Before Hughes, no one knew how to produce electromagnetic waves. Hughes made the key discoveries that #1 electric sparks emitted electromagnetic waves, and #2 they could be detected using metal wire (an antenna). Everyone that came after Hughes was merely replicating the phenomenon Hughes discovered, and the technology to produce and detect it that Hughes invented. Badon (talk) 23:59, 24 March 2014 (UTC)
Dicklyon, correct in December 1879, but wrong by February 1880: "EM waves, which to Hughes were just a mystery". Read page 41, at the bottom in the left column, where Hughes states that "my view [was] of aerial electric waves". It took some months after the first December 1879 demonstrations before Hughes became confident they were electromagnetic waves, in February 1880. Interestingly, Maxwell was not so well-known at the time. His own theory wasn't very well polished, which Hertz fixed. It was Hertz that made Maxwell's theory famous, as we know it today. It is unclear whether Hughes knew of Maxwell's theory or not, but given the kind of scientist Hughes was, I suspect he did not become very familiar with Maxwell until after he discovered a method of generating electromagnetic waves in 1879. Hughes was certainly well-connected enough with the scientific community to at least be aware of Maxwell in-passing or as an acquaintance. That would be interesting to research further. Badon (talk) 03:09, 24 March 2014 (UTC)
Badon (talk) 03:09, 24 March 2014 (UTC)
Good spot of a problem with the article. I actually edited the article before spotting this talk but used the suggestions in this talk to add in Lodge (and others). I ended up editing the lead because the claim "James Clerk Maxwell's electromagnetic theory of light, which was first demonstrated by David Edward Hughes" did not even pass basic WP:V, i.e. no reliable source cited and no reliable source makes this statement. I found references on Oliver Lodge and the Leyden jar. I saw no reference describing the "vacation" story and the paper he wanted to give seems to have been on evidence of electromagnetic waves carried along the surface area of wires he thought supported Maxwell. Some more reference hunting may flesh out the story.
I noticed (and tried to clean up) a massive amount of redundancy in describing Hertz' experiments and their usage. Some more exist so needs more work. I also noticed the article falls short describing "why" Hertz did what he did. So "Hertz noticed sparks that should not have occurred due to magnetic induction." needs to be fleshed out and added to the article. Fountains of Bryn Mawr (talk) 16:32, 23 March 2014 (UTC)
Thanks. The "Hertz noticed sparks that should not have occurred due to magnetic induction" story is found in The Creation of Scientific Effects by Jed. Z. Buchwald, pp. 218-220. The "vacation story" regarding Lodge's experiments with Leyden jars and wires is described in Oliver Lodge and the Liverpool Physical Society by Peter Rowlands, p. 26. I will try to add both the events and the references to the article in the next week or so.Claudeb (talk) 17:20, 23 March 2014 (UTC)

Hughes was the first to demonstrate the electromagnetic waves predicted by Maxwell's theory[edit]

Hughes was the first to demonstrate the electromagnetic waves predicted by Maxwell's theory. This is not in dispute. The events, dates, and witnesses were eventually published in the books and scientific journals of the time about Hughes's demonstrations (unpublished papers exist also), and no one has ever disputed them. Hughes was the first to demonstrate the electromagnetic waves predicted by Maxwell's theory, and no other fact is relevant.

...except the fact that Hughes did his demonstrations before Hertz. Hertz's notability arises not because he was the SECOND[1] person to demonstrate the production of electromagnetic waves, but instead because he was the FIRST to rule out everything else that they might have been, but were not (other wireless phenomena like magnetic induction, etc). To achieve that, Hertz used more rigorous science and engineering techniques than Hughes had used. That is the key fact that makes Hertz important.

To remove all of that information makes it less convincing why Hertz is so important. It reduces his stature as a brilliant experimental scientist in the field of electromagnetics, unlike any that had come before him. The information must be restored. It has been there for several years, and to remove it now smacks of a campaign against Hughes, rather than an exposition of the achievements of Hertz. See the recent removals of information mentioning Hughes in the Invention of radio article.

Below is the deleted information in the introductory paragraph. Note that each wikilinked word and phrase further educates the reader about the principles of science and engineering, which Hertz had utilized in a "masterly" fashion to eliminate doubt about what was happening.

Heinrich Rudolf Hertz (German: [h???]; 22 February 1857 – 1 January 1894) was a German physicist who clarified and expanded James Clerk Maxwell's electromagnetic theory of light, which was first demonstrated by David Edward Hughes using non-rigorous trial and error procedures. Hertz is distinguished from Maxwell and Hughes because he was the first to conclusively prove the existence of electromagnetic waves by engineering instruments to transmit and receive radio pulses using experimental procedures that ruled out all other known wireless phenomena.[2] The scientific unit of frequency – cycles per second – was named the "hertz" in his honor.[3]

Badon (talk) 03:09, 24 March 2014 (UTC)

Badon, you need to start by writing something in the body of the article, not the lead (which can later be adjusted to summarize the article). The part in the article needs to be backed up by sources about Hertz, not just sources about Hughes. If you have a point about what make Hertz important, get a source that puts it so, and let's include what it says. Dicklyon (talk) 03:56, 24 March 2014 (UTC)
Bandon, you have expressed this (due to lack of reliable sources) "opinion" before[9]. Maybe Hughes did have a significant roll in electromagnetic theory but you will have to rewrite a whole series of text books before you can get it into Wikipedia[10][11][12]. Reliable sources on the subject point out over and over again that Hughes could not "demonstrate" anything, he simply did not have the scientific know-how to demonstrate or prove what he saw was connected to a particular theory[13][14] and even point out that Hughes' letter to Fahie 20 years later was hindsight: it was obvious to Hughes this was radio transmission when he wrote the letter but it was not obvious to him 20 years earlier[15]. Fountains of Bryn Mawr (talk) 15:00, 24 March 2014 (UTC)
As I understand you, Badon, you are saying Hughes was the first person to produce electromagnetic waves even though he was unable to prove that they were electromagnetic waves. At least, I don't know how else to interpret you. But he surely wasn't the first to produce electromagnetic waves, because anyone who ever generated an electric spark or lit a fire produced electromagnetic waves. To "demonstrate" electromagnetic waves he would have had to do what Hertz did: prove that they behaved like waves and were not the result of magnetic or electro-static induction. Claudeb (talk) 20:12, 24 March 2014 (UTC)
You are correct Claudeb. Many things can produce electromagnetic waves unintentionally. The important fact is that Hughes understood the phenomenon he was seeing, and he INTENTIONALLY produced electromagnetic waves in a repeatable experiment that others could duplicate. Before Hughes, no one knew how to produce electromagnetic waves. Everyone that came after Hughes was merely replicating the experiments that Hughes demonstrated. Badon (talk) 23:59, 24 March 2014 (UTC)
"Merely reproducing" would be what they were doing if following his publications to verify what he had done. But he didn't publish, and others had to re-invent his techniques, and better and worse alternatives. It's too bad, but he missed the chance for his discoveries to have much impact. Let's not represent these discoveries as more than what most historians have decided to represent them as. Dicklyon (talk) 00:16, 25 March 2014 (UTC)
His discoveries DID have much impact. Hertz never claimed to have invented the spark gap transmitter. That's because Hughes invented it. People all over the world were tinkering electromagnetism using spark-gap transmitters after Hughes demonstrated how to build and operate it. Hertz wasn't the only one. Badon (talk) 02:18, 25 March 2014 (UTC)
errrr.... no. Edison produced and detected sparks (and published the results) 4 years before Hughes[16]. "His discoveries DID have much impact." <--- that's the point in a talk page discussion where you cite reliable sources. Fountains of Bryn Mawr (talk) 15:21, 25 March 2014 (UTC)
Nice discussion. Hertz never claimed to have invented the spark gap transmitter because he believed the spark gap transmitter was of no value. He claimed that he had proved Maxwell's theory. Hughes is one of the many examples in history of someone who came close to a great discovery or invention but could not seal the deal. Both Hughes and Hertz produced electromagnetic waves by accident--as did others before them. Hughes believed he was observing waves but did not realize how important that was and did not know what to do next. The moment Hertz suspected he was dealing with something other than magnetic induction he was determined to get to the bottom of it. Hertz systematically investigated the phenomenon over a period of months and published papers that turned out to be historic contributions. It's hard not to feel sorry for Hughes, but the most we can say is that he experimented with electromagnetic waves but (unlike Hertz) failed to add to our knowledge.Claudeb (talk) 19:23, 25 March 2014 (UTC)


  1. ^ A lot of people around the world were reproducing Hughes's experiments after he showed them how to do it in 1879/1880. Hertz was probably far from being the second person to do it. The actual second person was more likely to be one of the witnesses of the first demonstrations by Hughes, specifically members and associates of the Royal Society.
  2. ^ Prof. D. E. Hughes' Research in Wireless Telegraphy, The Electrician, Volume 43, 1899, page 41. See also pages 35, 40, 93, 143–144, 167, 217, 401, 403, 767. Hughes himself said that Hertz's experiments were "far more conclusive than mine".
  3. ^ IEC History


I cleaned up history and more redundancy/repeating paragraphs in "Electromagnetic research" following the suggestions of User:Claudeb (still chasing it down). Added more "why" to the section and moved images. I also lost the paragraph on other experimenters since they seem to have no connection to Hertz' basic story. Maybe other editors can work them back in but it seems to belong in Invention of radio. Fountains of Bryn Mawr (talk) 03:37, 1 April 2014 (UTC)