Temistode Calzecchi Onesti

Temistode Calzecchi Onesti

Italian physicist and inventor
Date of Birth: 14.12.1853
Country: Italy

Biography of Themistocle Calcsekki-Onesti

Themistocle Calcsekki-Onesti, an Italian physicist and inventor, demonstrated his experiments from 1884 to 1886. He showcased how iron filings, placed in an insulating tube, conducted electric current under the influence of electromagnetic waves. This discovery reflected the principle of operation of a wave detector, called a coherer, which was developed only 6-10 years later by Oliver Lodge, Edouard Branly, and Guglielmo Marconi.

Themistocle Calcsekki-Onesti was born on November 25, 1922, in Lapedona, Italy, where his father worked as a temporary doctor. His mother was the last descendant of the ancient noble Onesti family. The name Themistocle is the Italian variant of the name of the Athenian general Themistocles.

Calcsekki-Onesti graduated from the University of Pisa, where he gained extensive knowledge in natural sciences and mathematics. He then taught in schools and eventually shifted his focus to scientific research. On December 6, 1879, he was appointed as a professor of physics at the Technical Institute in L'Aquila. In 1883, Calcsekki moved to the A. Caro Classical Lyceum in Fermo. A year later, he embarked on a series of research on electrical resistance and conductivity of metal filings. The Italian physicist achieved high electrical conductivity and low resistance by using various sources of excitation, such as additional current, lightning, electrostatic induction, etc.

His experiments with insulating tubes and iron filings led to the development of the first coherer. The coherer was created by Edouard Branly in 1890. This device consisted of a glass tube containing metal filings and neysilber with traces of mercury. The contents were placed between two electrodes in a vacuum. Under the influence of electromagnetic fields, the high resistance of the filings became relatively low, breaking down the oxide layer on their surface, and causing the particles to "cohere" together. To reset the radio wave detector to its initial state, it needed to be shaken.

In 1886, Themistocle opened a physics laboratory, including a meteorological observatory, using the financial resources of Fermo and the Central Bureau of Meteorology and Geodynamics (COMG) responsible for weather information in the region. In 1888, he relocated to Milan, where he became a physics teacher at the Beccaria school.

In 1889, Calcsekki-Onesti assisted the renowned physicist Galileo Ferraris in testing an electric lighting installation in Fermo. Meanwhile, significant discoveries were made by physicists such as Heinrich Hertz, Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen, Nikola Tesla, and Augusto Righi. Among other things, the process of wireless transmission of telegraph signals was discovered.

Themistocle's main place of residence was Monterubbiano, where the physicist spent his youth, studied, worked, and passed away on November 25, 1922.