biography center image
Home Suggest a Biography Forum Contact
Browse by Alphabet Most Popular Highest Rated   back to  search
Browse by Letter : A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Joseph Henry ( 1797 - 1878 )  Category ( Scientists ) [suggest a correction]

Joseph HenryJoseph Henry is, perhaps, best remembered as the first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution. Though his name may not be familiar to some today, he was regarded by many to be as significant to American science as Benjamin Franklin. One of his most significant areas of research had to do with the electromagnetic relay, out of which eventually evolved into the electrical telegraph, invented by Samuel Morse and Charles Wheatstone.

Henry was born near the end of the eighteenth century, in New York to two poor Scottish immigrants. His father died when Henry was quite young, and he went to live with his grandparents. When he turned thirteen, he was apprenticed to a watchmaker and silversmith. Despite his early exposure to business and mechanical matters, and his future great role as a scientist, Henry's youthful dream was to become an actor. He loved the theater. By the time he was sixteen, however, the science bug bit him. Due to his aptitude for science and his poverty, he was awarded a full tuition scholarship to The Albany Academy. He originally planned for a career in medicine, but, ever an enthusiastic, versatile learner, after a stint as an assistant engineer, he decided on a future in civil or mechanical engineering. He was an excellent student, serving often as a de facto teaching assistant for his professors. In 1826, he was actually appointed Professor of Mathematics and Philosophy. Indeed, some of his most important research in the field of magnetism (one of his strongest scientific interests) was conducted during this time. He demonstrated the superiority of winding a single long coil around electrodes when using multiple batteries. It was that part of his research that resulted in the development of the telegraph. Also during his tenure at Albany Academy, he discovered the property of self-inductance, though Michael Faraday published his results on similar research first, and thus, received the credit.

Henry's curiosity continued to know no bounds. He became interested in balloons and inspired the formation of the Union Army Balloon Corps. Indeed, he served as a Civil War Aeronaut for two years. He was also interested in the idea and theories concerning room acoustics. No one in the scientific community was terribly surprised when he was invited to become the first secretary of the Smithsonian Institution. His gentle, patient, and friendly personality only added to his popularity, and allowed him to attract prominent inventors and scientists from around the country and the world to visit the Smithsonian. One of those inventors was Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone. Bell recalled how Henry provided encouragement and inspiration. One of the more notable quotes from Henry was recorded when he was thirty-five, and when a distinguished Yale geologist said of Henry, "As a physical philosopher he has no superior in our country; certainly not among the young men."  Henry then displayed his well-known modesty by replying, "Are you aware of the fact that I am not a graduate of any college and that I am principally self-educated?"

starstarstarstarstarstarstarstarstarstar    Rating  5
Rating [Comment on this link]
Title :Adventures in CyberSound: Henry, Joseph
Description : An on-line, academic work that will research the history of radio and the related media services of telegraphy, telephony, facsimile, television, photography and cinema. The project will also develop an on-line resource centre based on the above research. The project will subsequently develop the document A Future for Radio? and a prototype interactive on-line broadcast radio service, A Radio for the Future?
starstarstarstarstarstarstarstarstarstar    Rating  0
Rating [Comment on this link]
starstarstarstarstarstarstarstarstarstar    Rating  0
Rating [Comment on this link]
[Suggest another Link for this biography]
Browse by categories
Biographies beginning with
Biographes by Category
Most popular biographies
Most rated biographies
View all categories
Browse by categories
arrow Suggest an addtional category for Henry Joseph
arrow Suggest a Biography
arrow Add details to this biogaphy
© Copyright 1998-2024 Biography Center