Aleksandr Stepanovich Popov (Dictionary of World Biography: The 19th Century)
Article abstract: A Russian pioneer in the invention of radio and its application, Popov also contributed to the development of X-ray photography. Outside Russia, he contributed to the development of radio in France.
Aleksandr Stepanovich Popov was born in the village of Perm (modern Krasnoturinsk), located in a marshy area of northeastern Russia, just west of the Ural Mountains. Despite its relative isolation, Perm was an area of ancient Russian settlement, first made famous by Saint Stephen of Perm. Saint Stephen converted the pagan Permians after he proved incombustible when they attempted to burn him at the stake. For many generations, the clergy provided Perm’s only intelligentsia. Popov was the fourth child in a priest’s family of seven children. Though Popov left his village, he loved Perm and in later life took numerous photographs of his native landscape, which form an important collection.
By Popov’s time, copper and iron mines, as well as a few factories, were in operation near his village. As a child, he is supposed to have built models of factory and mining equipment. He was educated in seminaries and seemed destined to enter the priesthood, but at the age of eighteen he decided instead to pursue his growing interest in mathematics and physics. He moved to St. Petersburg to attend the university, which was then nearing the apogee of its reputation in science. Among Popov’s...
(The entire section is 2260 words.)
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