Ralph Hartley

Ralph Vinton Lyon Hartley ( born November 30, 1888 in Spruce, Elko County, Nevada; † May 1, 1970 in Summit, New Jersey ) was an American electrical engineer and co-founder of information theory.

Hartley studied at the University of Utah and the University of Oxford.

After returning to the United States he was employed in the research laboratory of the Western Electric Company. Later he worked until 1950 at Bell Labs.

For his research in the field of information theory and oscillator circuits he received in 1946 by the Institute of Radio Engineers (IRE ), a forerunner of the IEEE, the award IRE Medal of Honor

Units, circuits, laws which are named after Ralph Hartley, include:

  • Hartley (unit), a unit of data.
  • Shannon - Hartley Act, describes the theoretical upper limit of the bit rate of a transmission channel.
  • Hartley circuit, an electrical three-point oscillator circuit for generating vibrations.
  • Hartley transform, an integral transformation, with reference to the Fourier transform.


  • Hartley, RVL, "Transmission of Information ," Bell System Technical Journal, July 1928, p.535.
  • Hartley, RVL, " A More Symmetrical Fourier Analysis Applied to Transmission problem, " Proc. IRE 30, 144-150 (1942 ).
  • Hartley, RVL, "A New System of Logarithmic Units ," Proceedings of the IRE, January 1955, Vol 43, No. 1
  • Hartley, RVL, " Information Theory of The Fourier Analysis and Wave Mechanics", August 10, 1955 (publication location unknown)
  • Hartley, RVL, "The Mechanism of Gravitation", January 11, 1956 ( publication location unknown)
  • Information Science
  • Electrical Engineer
  • Americans
  • Born in 1888
  • Died in 1970
  • Man