A Cosmology of Invisible Fluids: Wireless, X-Rays, and Psychical Research Around 1900

Simone Natale

Abstract


ABSRACT: On December 28, 1895, the German physicist Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen disclosed his discovery of X-rays to the public. Just a few months later, Guglielmo Marconi successfully demonstrated his wireless system at Salisbury Plain, England. This article traces the relations between the early histories of wireless and X-ray technology. It does so by highlighting the role played by psychic research to open the connections between different technologies and knowledges. The disclosure of occult connections between these two technologies helps to locate the cultural reception of wireless around 1900 in a wider cosmology of rays and invisible forces.

RÉSUMÉ : Le 28 Decembre 1895, le physicien allemand Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen révélait au monde sa découverte des rayons X. Quelques mois plus tard, Guglielmo Marconi faisait une démonstration de son système de télégraphie sans-fil en Angleterre, à Salisbury Plain. En examinant la parapsychologie comme un champ propice à la mise en relation entre les technologies et les connaissances les plus hétéroclites, cet article reconstruit les liens entre la télégraphie sans-fil et les rayons X. L’étude de ces liens occultes permet de situer la reception culturelle de la transmission sans-fils autour de 1900 dans une cosmologie des rayons et forces invisibles.

Keywords


Wireless; Radio; X-rays; Psychic research; History

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.22230/cjc.2011v36n2a2368

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