Penn State

Sven Bilén - Professor of Engineering Design, Electrical Engineering, and Aerospace Engineering, Penn State University Park

Book Title: The Victorian Internet: The Remarkable Story of the Telegraph and the Nineteenth Century's On-line Pioneers

Author: Standage, Tom

Book Description:

The telegraph was a truly transformative technology. As someone involved in the design of modern, state-of-the-art communication systems, this book was humbling in showing how the 19th-century technology of the telegraph did more to shrink the world than modern systems like the internet. It reminds me that the design of communication systems is ultimately about connecting people. The "telegraphers' equations" describe wave propagation along a transmission line, and are used by me to this day in my research. The Carrington event, a massive solar storm in 1859, was experienced by telegraph operators around the world as they received electric shocks. Should a similar event happen today, a solar storm of that magnitude would likely cause widespread problems for modern civilization, so understanding space weather and its effects is another research interest of mine.

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