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Gustave Ferrié

Born November 19, 1868(1868-11-19)
Saint-Michel-de-Maurienne, Savoie
Died February 16, 1932 (aged 63)
Residence France
Nationality French
Fields Electrical engineering
Notable awards IEEE Medal of Honor

Gustave-Auguste Ferrié (November 19, 1868 - February 16, 1932) was a French radio pioneer and army general.

Ferrié was born in Saint-Michel-de-Maurienne, Savoie. After graduating from the École Polytechnique, Paris, in 1891, he became an officer in the French army's Engineers Corps, specializing in its military telegraph service. After being named to a committee exploring wireless telegraphy between France and England, in 1899 he carried out such communications in collaboration with Guglielmo Marconi.

In 1903 Ferrié invented a novel electrolytic detector, invented independently by Dr. Michael I. Pupin (1899), Professor Reginald A. Fessenden (1903), and W. Schloemilch (1903). That same year he also proposed setting antennas on the Eiffel Tower for long-range radiotelegraphy. Under his direction a transmitter was set up in the tower, and its effective range increased from an initial 400 km (250 miles) to 6,000 km (3,700 miles) by 1908. He then developed mobile transmitters for military units.

Ferrié headed the French Radiotelegraphie Militaire before and during World War I, where in 1914 he led two linked advances in military radio communications: practical ground telegraphy made feasible by the adoption of vacuum tubes within radio receivers. The transmitter was a buzzer, and the receiver an amplifier with triode. By war's end the French had produced almost 10,000 such sets. Ferrié was made a General in 1919 and so remained until his death, having been exempted from retirement rules by a special law of 1930.

Ferrié was named a Fellow of the Institute of Radio Engineers in 1917, and in 1931 received its Medal of Honor for "his pioneer work in the upbuilding of radio communication in France and in the world, his long continued leadership in the communication field, and his outstanding contributions to the organization of international cooperation in radio." He received on honorary doctorate from Oxford University in 1919, and in 1922 became a member of the French Academy of Sciences. He was the first president of the French National Committee of Geodesy and Géophysique (1920-1926), president of the International Scientific Radio Union (U.R.S.I.) and the International Commission on Longitudes by Radio, and vice president of the International Board of Scientific Unions.

Ferrié died on February 16, 1932, at the Val-du-Grâce military hospital in Paris. Several hours after his death he was awarded the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor. Today the Espace Ferrié (Musée des Transmissions) continues his memory in Cesson-Sévigné.

References

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