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Dot-Dash to Dot.Com


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How modern Telecommunications evolved from the Telegraph to the Internet

Date and Time

26 September 2014 - 14:00-15:15


London, United Kingdom - icon_popup  (See map)


Organised by the London local network.

About this event

The profusion of web sites and applications that characterize the modern Internet may seem a far cry from the primitive telegraph systems of the late 1830’s. There is, however, a direct link. The invention of the electric telegraph paved the way for telephone networks which, in turn, laid the foundations for today’s Internet. In less than 170 years, simple arrangements of magnets, switches and cables evolved to become the largest and most complex machine in the world.

How did this happen? Who were the key players in this amazing story? What were the inventions that shaped modern communications, and what is coming next? Dr Andrew Wheen will attempt to answer these and many other questions, bringing to life the characters, the times they lived in, and the technological revolution that they brought about. This lecture will describe:

  • some truly heroic feats of 19th century engineering, and the impact that the first telecommunication systems had on the Victorian world;
  • reveal how the success of the electric telegraph led to the development of the telephone and the fax machine;
  • explore some early experiments that led to the Internet and the World Wide Web;
  •  introduce a number of larger-than-life characters, whose inventive genius and entrepreneurial flair left an indelible mark on the modern world.

About the Speaker

Andrew Wheen

Dr Wheen has worked in the telecommunications and broadcasting industries since 1982. He was one of the original architects of the Energis network, and has also worked for major telecoms equipment suppliers. He has nearly twenty years of experience as a management consultant in the telecommunications and broadcasting industries. He is married with two children, and lives near London.

He is a Fellow of the IET and a Chartered Engineer.


12:00 to 13:45 – lunch in the Senior Common Room.
14:00 to 14;45 – lecture in the Seminar and Learning Centre (follow signs from Level 5 lifts)
14:45 to 15:15 approximately – questions and discussion

Additional information

Delegates taking lunch in the Senior Common Room select and pay for food and drink individually. Light refreshments may also be purchased there after the meeting.

Registration information

To register, please contact Brian Lovell, or telephone: 020 8995 0661 by the previous Wednesday evening.

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