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Ghost Story with Physics: Radio Drama Explores Wireless Pioneer

A ghostly wax figure at the Cork Gaol (Jail) and Radio Museum, Ireland

Coming up this weekend on the evening of Sunday, July 25th, BBC Radio 3 will be airing a 90 minute radio drama that explores the life of wireless radio pioneer Sir Oliver Lodge.

British physicist Sir Oliver Lodge transmitted radio signals in 1894 (before Marconi), studied wireless transmissions and also investigated psychic phenomena such as life after death.

This weekend’s radio drama is in part drawn from transcripts of seances in which Lodge communicated with his deceased son. According to the drama’s co-author, media historian David Hendy, the radio play “Between Two Worlds” is:

“…about Oliver Lodge, one of the ‘inventors’ of radio, and focuses on the  links between his work on wireless and the ‘ether’ and his personal interest in spiritualism: it’s a kind of ghost-story with physics – plus a bit of media history!”

There is something so magical and mystical about radio and the way it transmits voices from afar. It’s not surprising that a radio scientist would also be fascinated by the possibility of communicating with loved ones through the ether after they have passed on.

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3 Responses to Ghost Story with Physics: Radio Drama Explores Wireless Pioneer

  1. David Hendy July 21, 2010 at 1:33 am #

    Thanks for the mention. The programme should be available in the US via BBC i-Player, but I’m sure I could make a copy available to anyone who doesn’t catch it. The play was interesting to write (my co-author is Adrian Bean), involving, as it did, digging around in transcripts of seances and old Victorian letters.
    David Hendy, University of Westminster, London, England.

  2. Jennifer Waits July 21, 2010 at 4:44 pm #

    David, Thanks so much for the tip. I’ll look for the show next week. And do keep us posted about your projects in general.

  3. John M Rowley July 21, 2010 at 11:31 pm #

    David,
    You maybe unaware of Sir Oliver Lodge’s connection with selling of Ball Clay. His education was provided by the money his Father earnt by acting as an agent for B.Fayle & Co. From the age of 14 to 22 Sir Oliver Lodge worked for his father selling the world’s finest clay to the Potteries. It is not surprising that when he invented spark plugs, the insulator was made from Purbeck Ball clay. Part of his education was obtained in the Wedgwood Insitutes. Seances were only a very small part of his life, but that seem to capture the public imagination, far more than say his work on electromagnetic waves or Relativity.

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