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Susan Douglas on: Marconi's Gift
Susan Douglas Q: Tell me what you see as Marconi's gift. I mean, he inherited some part of this, right? But what did he do?

SD: Marconi's gift was that he was a great entrepreneur, and he was a great technological revisionist. There had been people since the 1870s trying to demonstrate in the scientific lab that electromagnetic waves existed. Marconi was not a theoretically trained scientist, he was not a university person. He wanted to make the thing commercially viable and to make it pay. And so the way he did that was he read and borrowed from the university-trained scientists, but he tinkered, he revised, he tried and tried again until he got a system that worked commercially in the field. And even though Marconi was an immigrant to this country as an inventor--half Irish, half Italian--Americans related to that fact, that he was a tinkerer who took something out of the lab and made it work.

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