Heinrich Rudolf Hertz (February 22, 1857 – January 1, 1894), was the German physicist for whom the hertz, the SI unit of frequency, is named. In 1888, he was the first to demonstrate the existence of electromagnetic radiation by building apparatus to produce radio waves.
Hertz was born in Hamburg, Germany, to a Jewish family that had converted to Christianity. His father was an advisor in Hamburg, his mother the daughter of a doctor. While going to school at the University of Berlin, he showed an aptitude for sciences as well as languages, learning Arabic and Sanskrit. He studied sciences and engineering in the German cities of Dresden, Munich and Berlin. He was a student of Gustav R. Kirchhoff and Hermann von Helmholtz. He obtained his PhD in 1880, and remained a pupil of Helmholtz until 1883 when he took a post as a lecturer in theoretical physics at the University of Kiel. In 1885 he became a full professor at the University of Karlsruhe where he discovered electromagnetic waves.