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Invented a bell to call — Serendipity in Physics
Alexander Graham Bell
Alexander Graham Bell ( 1847 to 1922 ), the “Father of Telephone” was born in Edinburgh, Scotland on March 3, 1847. His two brothers died of TB; dreaded by this disease, the family moved to a safer place, Ontario, Canada.
Alexander Graham Bell Scientist worked as professor of vocal physiology at Boston University. He taught the deaf to practice speaking. He studied the anatomy and physiology of speech. He was interested in music, too.
Fate ordained Bell to woo the deaf even. He married Mabel Hubbard who was deaf.
In 1875 Alexander Graham Bell Scientist discovered the principle of telephone while working on harmonic telegraph. He and his colleague Thomas Watson were experimenting – sending telegraphic signals over one wire at one time.
A thought flashed over Bell’s mind whether voice could be transmitted over a wire by electrical means. Bell was working on his telegraph receiver in one room while Watson was working on his telegraph transmitter in the adjacent room. After the telegraph signals stopped vibrations in the wire, i.e., during a ‘steady state’, Watson made some sounds with his fingers on the wire which were heard by Bell.
Watson had been attempting to transmit telegraph signals; when one of the metal reeds got stuck, he plucked it with force to break it – Bell heard this strong signal from the receiving reed in his room.
Alexander Graham Bell Scientist gained advantage of this incident which would have been ignored by others. This highlights the serendipity of the discovery. Astonished by this finding, Bell went running to Watson and revealed this episode.
Subsequently more experimentation took place. Graham Bell’s first utterance, “Watson, Watson, come here, I want you” – these words remained in history as the genesis of telephone. He spilled on his clothes some sulfuric acid which was present in the transmission apparatus, in a fit of excitement.
In 1876 Alexander Graham Bell Scientist obtained a patent for his telephone; next year he became a U.S. citizen. He was the founder of an important magazine Science. He was made President, National Geographic Society from 1898 to 1904.
Telephone is a boon – gift of science by which we can talk to people thousands of kilometers away from us. Hearing a voice evokes pleasure. It is a link between countries and minds.
In August 1877 a telephone was installed in the House of Commons. In November 1877 a permanent telephone line ( wire ) was laid in Berlin. Telephone exchanges began springing up world – wide.
Alexander Graham Bell Scientist inaugurated the telephone service between New York and Chicago in 1892. By 1915, a 3400 mile – long cable ( bundle of wires ) was laid under the sea.
Alexander Graham Bell Scientist,working in collaboration with his assistant Watson devised a kind of / sort of electromechanical ear ( source to listen sound ) in his pursuit to create a ‘speaking telegraph’ – a serendipitious discovery.
Other achievements of Bell
1. Interest in aviation after 1895.
2. Alexander Graham Bell Scientist and his group of workers developed ‘Hydrofoil’, a new form of speed boat in 1919.
The Scottish American scientist was a very polite person. When he died in 1922 at the age of 75, all telephones in U.S.A. remained silent for one minute, in honour / memory of this inventor of telephone, as a mark of respect to the departed soul.
The word ‘Bell’ in the name Alexander Graham Bell Scientist indicates the ringing bell in the telephone receiver on the arrival of call — a fact that he was destined to make this discovery!
In the present day
1. Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf,
Washington is existing in America to provide facilities for persons with this handicap.
2. DoT—Department of Telecommunications. I – net ( Internet ), intranet, satellite working on wireless equipment in contrast to the cable ( wire ) equipment in Bell’s days. The above communication network is expanding now – a – days, on the analogy, the steam engine is replaced by Diesel locomotive.
3. In 1989, Bell Labs developed the modern Digital Cellular Radio Technology.