Nikola Tesla- The Man Who Lit Up The World

Einstein was once asked what it was like to be the smartest man alive. He replied “I don’t know, you’ll have to ask Nikola Tesla.

There is absolutely no doubt that Nikola Tesla was one of the greatest inventors ever. His endeavours dictated the electrical revolution which would allow it to run todays modern world. He registered hundreds of patents, but he was never fully recognised for his efforts. He was a man out of his time and because of this, he died alone as a poor man in his New York apartment.

Nikola Tesla Napoleon Sarony Via Wikicommons
Nikola Tesla (Credits: Napoleon Sarony Via Wikicommons)

 

The Alternating Current (AC) electrical system was Tesla’s first major contribution to society. As an aspiring inventor, he began his career working for the renowned businessman who commercialised the light bulb, Thomas Edison. Tesla was assigned the role of improving Edison’s Direct Current (DC) motors and generator, and was offered fifty thousand dollars should he succeed. Following his success, Tesla approached Edison for the money but was only met with the reply “Telsa, you don’t understand American humor”.

Infuriated, Tesla left the company to pursue his own invention of the AC electrical system, which would allow electricity to be distributed more widely and for a reduced cost. Edison was furious and tried to prevent the AC from emerging by publicly electrocuting animals using AC motors. Despite this, AC electrical systems were eventually found to be more efficient at transmitting electricity which is why current power plants use alternating current to transmit their power.

 

 

Tesla sitting in his laboratory generating millions using his Tesla coil.  (Credits: Public domain via Wikicommons)
Tesla sitting in his laboratory generating millions of volts using his Tesla coil.
(Credits: Public domain via Wikicommons)

Tesla’s next invention utilised radio signals to send and receive information. In 1895, he successfully sent a wireless transmission from his lab located in New York to the Hudson River 40 km away. Although Tesla was the inventor, the invention of wireless transmission is often credited towards Guglielmo Marconi.

However, Marconi violated seventeen of Tesla’s patents, and the Supreme Court stubbornly supported Marconi who was eventually awarded with a Nobel Prize in 1909 for his contributions to the development of wireless telegraphy. Tesla then invented the remote control where he was able to control vehicles wirelessly. He presented his work to the military, however they could not see its potential and it was rejected.

Tesla's Radio powered boat  (Credits: Public Domain via Wikicommons)
Tesla’s radio powered motor built in 1898
(Credits: Public Domain via Wikicommons)

 

The Wardenclyffe Tower was Tesla’s most ambitious project yet. His goal was to provide free energy and wireless communication globally by utilizing  the charged layer of the atmosphere known as the ionosphere. Although the physics is complex, Tesla intended to use his Tesla coil to send an electrical pulse into the ionosphere that would then flow around the Earth and distribute electrical energy along its path. By using the Earth’s natural resource, he hoped to provide the world with free electricity. The construction of the Wardenclyffe Tower commenced in 1901, but unfortunately funding fell short and the tower was demolished in 1917.

 

Wardenclyffe Tower  (Credits: Public domain via Wikicommons)
Wardenclyffe Tower
(Credits: Public domain via Wikicommons)

 

Today Russian physicists plan to resurrect Tesla’s dream by raising $800,000 and create a tower that can provide the world with free energy.

Tesla was a pure genius. He was fluent in eight languages and could recite an entire book at will. Although he has never received the respect and recognition that he deserved, we should be thankful for his influence towards science and technology which will resonate through the ages.

“Let the future tell the truth and evaluate each one according to his work and accomplishments. The present is theirs; the future, for which I really worked, is mine.” -Nikola Tesla

 

If you have a chance read this hilarious comic about Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla:

 

Further Reading:

AC/DC The Tesla-Edison Feud

The 10 Inventions of Nikola Tesla That Changed The World

 

 

 


4 Responses to “Nikola Tesla- The Man Who Lit Up The World”

  1. jbeasley says:

    Tesla will continue to be one of the greatest underrated minds in history, great to hear Einstein’s sentiment. Thanks for shedding some more light on this!

  2. ginam says:

    Brilliant post. Thanks for the education!!!

  3. georginao says:

    I didn’t realise that the character in the movie The Prestige (Tesla, played by David Bowie) was based on a true person! I love true stories! 🙂

  4. ruthd1 says:

    Great post! I knew of Tesla, but not of the extent of his achievements, nor that he was quite so under appreciated. I think the first time I heard of Tesla was in the scifi show Sanctuary (great show btw) where he was a semi-vampire? I don’t know. It was strange. I hope these days we wont miss a genius such as Tesla, but I guess we’ll only find out in 50 years.