Salvan, “Telecommunication Heritage”

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ITU Secretary General Hamadoum Touré, ITU Chairman of the Board Frédéric Riehl, and Professor Yves Fournier

According to the story told forty years ago by a senior citizen of Salvan, in 1895 Guglielmo Marconi carried out some of his earliest wireless experiments in the vicinity of this picturesque village of the Swiss Alps [1–3]. The IEEE duly acknowledged this event, and granted a “Historical Milestone in Electrical Engineering and Computing” to the site [4]. Mr. Raymond Findlay, IEEE Past President, dedicated a commemorative plaque on 26 September 2003, in the presence of a number of VIPs.

An important delegation of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU, based in Geneva) visited the site on 9 September 2007 under the guidance of Dr. Hamadoum Touré, ITU Secretary General (fig. 1). He declared: “Coming to Salvan is in fact a pilgrimage. As an engineer in satellite communications and ITU Secretary General, it is a privilege for me. Tomorrow’s world will be more and more placed under the sign of Hertzian communications, and the great inventor Marconi will remain for ever a guide for all of us.”

On 26 September 2008, for the first time in its history, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU /UIT) will recognize a particular site for its invaluable contribution in the «TELECOMMUNICATION HERITAGE.» This honor will be granted to the township of Salvan, in Valais, Switzerland where, in 1895, Guglielmo Marconi carried some of his first experiments in wireless telegraphy.

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Commemorative ITU plaque that will be installed in Salvan on 26 September 2008

Additional information can be obtained from the Marconi Foundation (Switzerland):

Fred E. Gardiol, IEEE Life Fellow

[1] F. Gardiol, “Marconi in Switzerland,” IEEE Antennas and Propagation Magazine, vol. 38, No. 6, December 1996, pp. 68-69.
[2] F. Gardiol and Y. Fournier, “Salvan, cradle of wireless”, Microwave Journal, vol. 49, N° 2, February 2006, pp. 124–136.
[3] F. Gardiol and Y. Fournier, “Marconi in Switzerland, True Story or Fairy Tale ?,” IEEE HISTory of TELecommunication CONference (HISTELCON’08), Paris, 11-12 September 2008.
[4] F. Gardiol, “The making of the IEEE Marconi milestone in Switzerland,” IEEE Life Members Newsletter, December 2006, pp. 3-4