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Alexanderson, Ernst Fredrik Werner (25 January 1878–14 May 1975), engineer and radio and television pioneer, was born in Uppsala, Sweden, the son of Aron Martin Alexanderson, a professor, and Amelie von Heidenstam. From an early age Alexanderson showed interest in things scientific, and so he was sent to the Royal Institute of Technology at Stockholm, where he studied engineering, graduating in 1900. The Royal Institute had no specific program in electrical engineering, which was Alexanderson’s major interest, and so he spent the following year at the Königliche Technische Hochschule in Charlottenburg, Germany, then one of the best engineering schools of Europe. Here for the first time Alexanderson became acquainted with contemporary work in electromagnetics and wireless communication....

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Armstrong, Edwin Howard (18 December 1890–31 January 1954), electrical engineer and inventor, was born in New York City, the son of John Armstrong, a publisher, and Emily Smith, a teacher. Armstrong attended public schools in New York City and in Yonkers, New York, where the family moved in 1900. Fascinated by machinery, he enjoyed repairing broken toys for friends and later learned to repair automobiles. In his teens he was impressed by ...

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Berkner, Lloyd Viel (01 February 1905–04 June 1967), engineer, was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the son of Henry Frank Berkner and Alma Julia Viel. Berkner and his two brothers were raised in the small towns of Perth, North Dakota, and Sleepy Eye, Minnesota. Berkner enrolled in a radio operator’s school and served aboard ship for one year after completing his high school studies. He then entered the University of Minnesota as an electrical engineering student, receiving a B.S. in 1927 as well as a commission as an aviator in the U.S. Naval Reserve. He later took some graduate courses in physics at Minnesota and at George Washington University but earned no graduate degree. In 1928 he married Lillian Frances Fulks; they had two children....

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de Forest, Lee (26 August 1873–30 June 1961), radio engineer and inventor, was born in Council Bluffs, Iowa, the son of Henry Swift de Forest, a Congregational minister, and Anna Margaret Robbins. He grew up in Iowa and (after 1879) Talladega, Alabama, where his father was president of the Talladega College for Negroes....

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Fessenden, Reginald Aubrey (06 October 1866–22 July 1932), inventor, was born in East Bolton, Quebec, Canada, the son of Elisha Joseph Fessenden, an Anglican clergyman, and Clementina Trenholme. Fessenden spent his earliest years at Bolton Centre, Quebec, and Fergus, Ontario. From a young age he showed a keen interest in invention and science and filled every free moment with the reading of scientific texts, being encouraged in this pursuit by his uncle, Cortez Fessenden, a teacher of science and mathematics. At the age of seven Fessenden read Gibbon’s ...

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Goldmark, Peter Carl (02 December 1906–07 December 1977), inventor, was born in Budapest, Hungary, the son of Alexander Goldmark, a hatmaker, and Emmy (maiden name unknown). In 1919 Goldmark’s family fled to Vienna, Austria, to escape the Communist revolution in Hungary. Goldmark studied for a year at the Berlin Technische Hochschule in Charlottenburg, Germany, and then transferred to the Physical Institute of Vienna, where he received his B.Sc. in 1930 and his Ph.D. in physics in 1931....

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Kompfner, Rudolf (16 May 1909–03 December 1977), physicist and radio engineer, was born in Vienna, Austria, the son of Bernhardt Kompfner, an accountant and musician, and Paula Grotte. His middle-class Jewish family fully participated in turn-of-the-century Viennese social life, including its musical culture. He was educated in public school (1915–1920), the Gymnasium (1920–1924), and Realschule (1924–1927) in the twentieth district of Vienna. Influenced by an uncle, Fritz Keller, to take up architecture, he was admitted to the Technische Hochschule in Vienna in 1927 and acquired an engineering degree (Diplom-Ingenieur) from the Faculty of Architecture in 1933....

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Storm, Hans Otto (29 July 1895–11 December 1941), writer and radio telegraph engineer, was born in Bloomington, California, the son of Joachim Otto Storm, a bank teller, and Marie Rehwoldt. His parents both came from Germany and met in the United States. Storm grew up in Anaheim, California. After graduating from public high school, he worked for a year in the electrician’s trade. In 1917 he was conscripted into the army, but he spent most of the war in hospitals on account of illness. Afterward Storm was frequently ill, and he was never robust....