Talk:Oliver Heaviside

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primary occupation?[edit]

I would like to know, what was his primary occupation. What did he do for a living and how did he get his money. Can we call him a gentleman scientist ??

The "publications" after 1925 need some kind of annotation ... are they reprints? When were they written? I don't know the facts here or the standard way of presenting such information or I'd try some edits directly ..

Heaviside was employed as a telegraph operator in Denmark for a couple years in his late teens and early twenties, but he mooched off his parents for the rest of their lives, and never resumed gainful employment. In the modern world he would probably be the equivalent of a basement dwelling Usenet troll. (talk) 07:33, 3 November 2012 (UTC)

link problem[edit]

Lorentz-Fitzgerald contraction (which is most common) does not link to "Lorentz-Fitzgerald contraction", but Fitzgerald-Lorentz contraction does! I don't know how that works... Harald88 21:15, 14 October 2005 (UTC)

fixed: redir to section of length contraction article-Pournami (talk)

Twenty "Maxwell equations"[edit]

The twenty equations of electromagnetism originally written by Maxwell include much more than the "canonical" Maxwell equations. Ohm's law, for example, is included and it is not really a law of electromagntism but an empirical description of some materials. The four canonical vector equations correspond to only twelve of Maxwell's twenty (there is one for each Cartesian coordinate). I've made small revisions accordingly.Shrikeangel (talk) 16:13, 14 September 2011 (UTC)

A referene for that would be handy. SpinningSpark 16:51, 14 September 2011 (UTC) Maxwell, J. C., "A dynamical theory of the electric field". A summary is here: Comparison with any EM textbook will show that the four "canonical" equations can make up at most 12 of the twenty equations in Maxwell's paper, some of which are not explicity expressed.Shrikeangel (talk) 01:01, 19 September 2011 (UTC)


The first paragraph of the article (I'm not a regular editor, so I don't know the terminology), but the part at the very begining of the page, before the table of contents, that says "Oliver Heaviside was a self-taught..." is the exact same text, word for word, as a footnote in M.J.Roberts' Signals and Systems, second edition, page 25. ISBN 978-0-07-338068-1 Hard to say who copied whom, but neither credits the other. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:42, 10 February 2012 (UTC)

The bulk of the current lede was inserted with this edit. However, the first and last sentence were already there and had been for years. The last sentence, in particular has been in since 2004. It does not seem likely that the whole thing is a copyvio as it was created over a number of years with at least three different editors taking part. It would be very strange if they all plagiarized the same book. Can you confirm that it is word-for-word, including the first and last sentence. Also, what is the year of publication of your version of the book? If it was in a print of the book prior to insertion in Wikipedia that would confirm copyvio. SpinningSpark 19:49, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
Some relevant history of the lede: [1][2][3][4][5] SpinningSpark 20:04, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
The second edition says "Copyright 2011", so the Wikitext wasn't stolen from the second edition. First edition ( 0072499427) is copyright 2004. --Wtshymanski (talk) 21:55, 10 February 2012 (UTC)

Nahin 2002[edit]

It seems a little strange that such claims about someones personal character could be made without a proper verified source. A citation with an unknown title or page number is unacceptable as it is impossible to verify. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:12, 27 May 2013 (UTC)

Which claim in particular are you talking about? All the citations to Nahin that I can see have page numbers and Nahin's book is in the references where the title and ISBN are given along with a link to Google books. SpinningSpark 11:02, 27 May 2013 (UTC)


After reading this article, I also feel like painting my fingernails pink, removing all my furniture from my house, and sleeping on a block of stone.

No mention of the aether? (talk) 21:20, 9 December 2013 (UTC)


"World's Only Remaining Renaissance Man"? It would befit Oliver. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Danshawen (talkcontribs) 18:02, 3 February 2014 (UTC)

The Heaviside Memorial Project[edit]

This has been added and reverted twice.[6] It is not the job of Wikipedia articles to give a free plug to charitable causes, no matter how worthy they are. There also appears to be a WP:COI here, as the user involved has made no edits other than to mention this website. Articles should be based on secondary sources, and this is a WP:SPS.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 18:36, 14 July 2014 (UTC)

Also, there is no indication that this is a charity registered with the Charity Commission, it is simply an appeal for funds to be donated via PayPal. While I am not questioning the good faith of the person involved, this appears to be a personal project which is appealing for funds, rather than a charity.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 20:23, 14 July 2014 (UTC)
One thing I would say is that the reversions have been on the basis of WP:EL. This is an invalid rationale as WP:EL explicitly does not apply to references. However, I agree that the source provided cannot be considered a WP:RS in Wikipedia terms. There may or may not be a case for including this if a suitable source were to be found, that is a matter for discussion, but the contribution as it stands is definitely not acceptable. SpinningSpark 20:32, 14 July 2014 (UTC)
I thought about moving it to the external links section, but considered that it would have issues there as well. The best way forward would be to get a reliable secondary source to mention this, but it is somewhat off-topic to mention a fund raising venture in a Wikipedia article.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 20:38, 14 July 2014 (UTC)

New external link[edit]

Hi, I seek advice and guidance. I'm involved in the development of a non-commercial "hobby-site", 'Oliver Heaviside' at I think that this meritsa place in the 'External links'. However, I suspect that if I try to add the link, the wrath of Wikipedians will descend upon me. Can I ask others to look at the site and decide whether it's worthy of inclusion? Geoffw1948 (talk) 14:00, 11 January 2015 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Geoffw1948 (talkcontribs)

Our guideline is at Wikipedia:External links. Take a look at that, and then tell us what rationale you have for including it under the guidelines. Take particular note of "links normally to be avoided" point #1. SpinningSpark 16:34, 13 January 2015 (UTC)
At the moment, the site does not say much that is not already mentioned in the Wikipedia article, so it would have some issues with WP:EL. The photo gallery is useful.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 18:07, 13 January 2015 (UTC)

Maxwell's original equations and Heaviside's formulations thereof[edit]

I am puzzled by this from the article: "Less well known is that Heaviside's equations and Maxwell's are not exactly the same, and in fact it is easier to modify the latter to make them compatible with quantum physics."

I understand that their forms are different, but surely they are equivalent. Saying they are not "exactly the same" is true but sounds strange. Zedshort (talk) 16:31, 11 February 2016 (UTC)

The book The Maxwellians has a chapter "Maxwell redressed" and an appendix on Maxwell's equations. The modifications made by Heaviside are spelled out there.Rgdboer (talk) 01:56, 13 February 2016 (UTC)

Insulation resistance vs. wire resistance in the telegrapher's equations[edit]

I studied Ramo, Whinnery, and Van Duzer's classic book in detail before designing a pulsed transmission line system. My take is that insulation resistance is not a factor in real systems and that pulse dispersion is caused by resistance in series with the inductor. I believe my wording is more accurate. Overjive (talk) 21:39, 13 March 2017 (UTC)

I take it that you were looking at it from the point of view that the resistance of modern insulators is now so high that insulation losses can be entirely ignored. So of course, under those circumstances the Heaviside condition can only be achieved if the conductor resistance is kept so small that it can also be ignored. That is, effectively a lossless line. Also, the frequency dependent term in the expression for velocity with G=0 is controlled by CR, not by L/R. In any case, that is all pretty irrelevant. Insulators in Heaviside's day were not so good and I don't believe Heaviside ever said anything along the lines of your claim. He was concerned with perfectly balancing RC to LG by increasing L. That is, of course, impossible if G=0. Or, as the article says, if 1/G is not too high. In terms of long distance telegraph and telephone cables, the problem Heaviside was looking at, reducing R is not economic because of the vast amount of additional copper that would be required. Adding periodic inductors leaving the existing cable in place was much the cheaper option. This article is about Oliver Heaviside and his research, not Overjive's research. SpinningSpark 22:53, 13 March 2017 (UTC)