Who says dropping out of high school is the biggest mistake you’ll ever make!? OK, for about 99% of us, dropping out is a huge mistake… not for Oliver Heaviside. However, if you could teach yourself telegraphy and electromagnetism like he did, then I doubt that you would have a need for high school either. Heaviside would also go on to develop a few useful things still popular today.
Arguably the biggest still-used invention of his is the coaxial cable (the thing that you plug into your cable box and modem); most of the world uses coax in some manner. Along with the invention of coaxial cables, Heaviside developed the transmission line theory which is how we receive radio signals, cable TV and network computers.
He would also go on to predict Cherenkov radiation and advanced ideas like the ionosphere (crucial in order to propagate radio signals). It’s how your grandma is able to listen to AM radio several hundred miles away from home. Heaviside also helped to create the operator method and vector calculus, both of which are still used in more current forms. As If he wasn’t busy enough, Heaviside also found time to coin a few electromagnetic terms like permeability and impedance among others.
Whether it he was developing easier ways to solve complex math equations or inventions as useful as the coaxial cable, Oliver Heaviside definitely thrived by dropping out of high school -- I doubt any of us could say the same.
Photo courtesy of: coldfusionnow.org, www.miratecninc.com