Guglielmo Marconi told by his daughter Elettra: "My father created a prototype of a ‘mobile phone’. It was a gift for Pope Pius XI".

15 March 2022

Princess Marconi, witness to her father's inventions and life story, speaks of herself in a conversation with Alfonso Farina, one of the fathers of modern radar technology: "Dad organised radio links all over the world to hear my voice"


“In radio, we have a fitting tool for bringing the people of the world together, to make their voices heard, and express their needs and aspirations. The significance of this modern means of communication is thus fully revealed: a wide channel for the improvement of our mutual relations is available to us; we have only to follow its course in a spirit of tolerance and friendliness, eager to exploit the achievements of science and human ingenuity for the greater good.”

Guglielmo Marconi spoke these words on 11 March 1937 at the Chicago Tribune Forum, anticipating subsequent developments, throughout the twentieth century, that would include the mobile phone, television, radar, internet navigation, and satellite images. These applications, now part of our daily lives, are the final synthesis of a series of technological evolutions whose common origin traces back to the new ways in which electromagnetic waves were transmitted. In short, to the radio.

Travelling down memory lane, Elettra Marconi relives some of the most significant moments in Guglielmo Marconi’s activities. The interview, conducted by Alfonso Farina and the journalist Silvana Iannaccone, was organized as part of a project by the Leonardo Radar & Sensors Academy, of which Farina is president. It was a training course to disseminate the Italian technological heritage and beyond, promoted by Leonardo. Farina, considered one of the fathers of modern radar, has long been one of the company's executives.

The 90-year-old daughter of the great inventor retraces some fundamental steps of her father's career, relived through personal memories. From ‘blind navigation’, to test the emerging radar technology, to the first example of a ‘mobile phone’ for Pope Pius XI; from the excitement of a phone call with her father in the middle of the Pacific, to her presence at the first-ever television broadcast.

Milestones of a never-ending exploration, driven by a global vision and a forward-looking attitude. The same features that are now the basis of our way of ‘doing business’, in which research and innovation guide the evolution of technologies over time, for the benefit of people, society and the planet.