Radios first came about in the 19th century, when people discovered that electromagnetic waves could spread through space. Although there were many discoveries and inventors leading up to the radio that we have today, some big names are probably more recognizable than others. Nicola Tesla, Thomas Edison and Heinrich Rudolf Hertz were all to thank for this invention. Guglielmo Marconi may not be so familiar, but he was the one who built the commercial wireless telegraphy system in 1894 and is due most of the credit of the development of today’s radio. He used Hertzian waves to produce a useful communication system that could transmit signals up to 2 miles. He later won the Nobel Prize in Physics and is celebrated as the inventor to commercialize radio.
What is a radio?
So, what is a radio? It is a technology that uses radio waves to carry information, which can be later withdrawn and transformed, into their original state. Radio waves are a type of radiation, or energy that moves. The speed at which they move is called, frequency, which is the number of waves that pass a point every second. Radios need a transmitter and receiver for the system.
These old-school simple AM radios actually run on nothing and are completely self-powered, though its power is highly limited. The energy that is available is collected by an antenna system through radio waves, which are essentially invisible, wireless power. It was popular in the early days of radio and named as such due to its initial component of a crystalline mineral. Nowadays, the component is known as a diode, but the crystal radio receiver retains its sparkly name. Its other components are the antenna, and the earphone or headset.
STEMmates and Crystal Radios
Here at STEMmates we’ve added new courses to our 2018 Holiday Program and one of them is about Radios. The course is designed to use hands on methods and activity-based learning to get children excited about STEM subjects. STEM refers to the study of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics related subjects. In this course, we introduce concepts related to wavelength, frequency and amplitude in order for them to understand how radios work.
Workshop participants will actually learn to build their own classic Crystal Radio and explore the effects of design variations and how to maximize tuning and signal strengths. Didn’t think your child would be building radios in class? Well, believe it!
Find out how to get your child enrolled today on our Facebook and website pages.