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British Industrial History

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Riccardo Arno

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Riccardo Arno (1866-1928)

1928 Obituary [1]

RICCARDO ARNO, son of a distinguished professor of mathematics and natural philosophy, was born in Turin on the 1st January, 1866.

When 22 years old he took an engineering degree at the Turin Polytechnic, and a year later was appointed assistant to Galileo Ferraris, who was then professor at the Royal Industrial Museum at Turin. He soon became well known in scientific circles for several interesting researches, in many of which he collaborated with Prof. Ferraris himself.

In 1896, on the death of Prof. Ferraris, he succeeded him as professor. Three years later he was appointed professor of electrotechnics at the Milan Polytechnic and retained that position to the end of his very active life, during which he published more than 100 original papers. Having had the opportunity of collaborating with Ferraris, his work was mainly a continuation of the latter's noteworthy experiments on rotating fields and polyphase currents and included researches on phase transformers, the rotation of dielectrics in rotating electric fields, and hysteresis loss in dielectrics.

He also invented the phasemeter and devised a method of starting synchronous machines and the well-known system of charging for electrical energy which takes into account the power factor of the load. His activities extended into many other fields, among which may be mentioned a telephonic galvanometer, an ingenious wave detector, a high-frequency generator which, before the invention of the triode, was the only static one known, and various problems in connection with the applications of electricity to traction, heating, smelting, and domestic use. As a professor he was bright and convincing in his exposition, and his lectures were followed with enthusiasm by his students. He was devoted to his mother and never married.

He was elected a Foreign Member of the Institution in 1900, and a Member in 1911.

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