American physicist (1847-1922)
Alexander Graham Bell was born in Edinburgh.
Both his father and grandfather worked with speech and phonetics. When the
family emigrated to America Bell, got a job in Boston as a teacher of phonetics and speech
for deaf people. Motivated by an interest in communication, and helped
financially by the father of one of his pupils, he began to experiment in the
transmission of the spoken word.
In 1875 he developed a simple loudspeaker and microphone (a year later Thomas Edison was to invent a better microphone); in 1876 he had a working telephone. The story goes that Bell had spilt some acid on himself and called to his assistant, 'Come, Mr. Watson, I must talk to you.' Although Watson was in another room, he heard Bell through the machine they were working on - and that was the first telephone conversation.