Italy honours brilliant son Marconi
ROME, Italy -- Guglielmo Marconi has been honoured by his home nation Italy, exactly 100 years after the country's greatest 20th century inventor's historic first.
With three faint clicks heard across the Atlantic, Marconi proved that messages could be sent over thousands of miles, laying the foundation for modern day radio, wireless technology and the digital age.
To celebrate the centenary, scientists in Italy beamed a message from near his birthplace of Bologna to the world's amateur radio operators by using the moon as a satellite dish.
Meanwhile Italian politicians paid homage at a gala in Rome.
"We must remember the first big protagonist of globalisation was Italian, Marconi himself," Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said during a ceremony at the Post and Telecommunications Museum that was attended by Marconi's daughter Elettra.
Communications Minister Maurizio Gasparri hailed Marconi as "an Italian myth and authentic global village hero."
He said radio remained a symbol of liberty, as shown in Kabul when the first thing residents did after the fall of the hardline Taliban government was to tune in to radio.
Marconi, whose father was a wealthy Italian landowner and mother from Ireland's Jameson whiskey distillery family, was refused funding for his experiments by Italy, making many of his discoveries in England.
In 1901, the 27-year-old Marconi, educated privately in science after failing entrance exams at an Italian university, decided to put his theories to the test and attempt a transatlantic wireless transmission.
"The receiver on the table before me was very crude," Marconi later said. "No valves, no amplifiers, not even a crystal. I was at last on the point of putting the correctness of all my beliefs to the test."
To demonstrate the advance of technology, scientists near Bologna in central Italy were to transmit throughout Wednesday a microwave message, including recordings of Marconi, by bouncing the transmission off the moon's surface and back to earth.
Marconi died in Rome in 1937, one of the most celebrated men of his age, bestowed with honours at home and abroad.
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