A radio pioneer once imagined he could listen back through time. Now you can, in a way, thanks to a Cornell archive.
What if you could build a radio so powerful that you could detect sounds made long ago?
This, obviously, is impossible, but that's not what Guglielmo Marconi, one of radio's early pioneers, believed.
"Marconi became convinced that sound never dies," Nate DiMeo, of the podcast The Memory Palace, tells it.
In his 60s, having suffered a series of heart attacks, Marconi dreamed "of a device that would let him hear lost sounds, let him tap into these eternal frequencies. He would tell people that if he got it right, he could hear Jesus of Nazareth giving the Sermon on the Mount."
DiMeo continues, "At the end of his life he could sit in his piazza in Rome, and hear everything that was ever said to him or about him. He could relive every toast and testimonial. And we all could -- hear everything: Hear Caesar. Hear Shakespeare give an actor a line-reading. Hear my grandmother introduce herself to my grandfather at a nightclub in Rhode Island. Hear someone tell you that they love you, that first time they told you they loved you. Hear everything, forever."
You can listen to DiMeo tell the story here: