"When you can measure what you are speaking about and express it in numbers you know something about it. But when you cannot measure it, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meagre and unsatisfactory kind. It may be the beginning of knowledge but you have scarcely in your thoughts advanced to the state of science."

Physicist

"Shall I refuse to eat my dinner because I do not fully understand the digestive processes ?"

: Oliver Heaviside.

The inventor of the controversial, revolutionary, Operational Calculus which he used initially to analyse transients in electrical circuits and transmission lines. Then applied to signal distortion and its correction along telegraph and telephone cables: problems which Lord Kelvin had encountered some 35 years earlier in the design and operation of the first trans-Atlantic telegraph cables. Problems which still arise today in digital networks. Heaviside's Calculus has now been applied to all branches of engineering and scientific enquiry, even to economics. It's modern name is the Laplace Transform Method, Laplace being the renouned French mathematician, a small part of whose work 100 years earlier was eventually found to provide the necessary logical link between the Operational Calculus and the remainder of the whole field of Mathematics.

(The name 'Operational' Calculus arose due to Heaviside's use of symbols such as the letter "D" to signify the complex mathematical operations of differentiation and integration. But what was revolutionary was his use of these symbols as ordinary quantities and variables obeying the normal rules of addition, multiplication, division, square roots, etc., thus reducing the calculus to the solution of simple algebraic equations. The meaning of Sqrt(D) is beyond human comprehension. But if the right answers are the outcome should engineers care?)

In 1902 Heaviside correctly predicted the existence of the ionosphere consisting of electrical reflecting and refracting layers in the Earth's extreme upper atmosphere caused by the ionising radiation from the Sun via which world-wide short-wave radio communication was eventually to become possible.

It was Heaviside who transformed Maxwell's little-understood mathematical description of electromagnetic radiation into the greatly simplified form now universally adopted in the World's text books but still incorrectly attributed to Maxwell.

A recluse from his mid 20's to the end of his life, he survived long enough to receive some recognition of his early work. A giant in the world of applied mathematics and early communications engineering, mostly unrecognised in his own time. It was American radio and line transmission engineers early in the 20th century who recognised the practical value and importance of Heaviside's beautiful mathematical solutions to a wide class of hitherto insoluble problems:- the transient response of complex electrical and mechanical systems to varying loads, vibration and sudden shock.

"Patriotism is not enough."

: Nurse Edith Cavell, executed by firing squad, Belgium, 12th October, 1915.

"There's no such thing as Public Opinion - just a circulation of newspapers."

: George Bernard Shaw, before the advent of radio broadcasting.

Now there are equally dishonest TV news analysts.

"If you MUST set yourself up as an object lesson do so as a warning not as an example."

: George Bernard Shaw.

Playwrite and prefacist.

Radio Amateur G4FGQ and Iconoclast.

Index