(Smiljan, present-day Croatia, 1856 – New York, 1943) American physicist of Serbian origin. Nikola Tesla studied at the universities of Graz (Austria) and Prague. After having worked in several electrical industries in Paris and Budapest, he moved to the United States (1882), where he worked under the orders of Thomas A. Edison, then a supporter of direct electric current.
Nikola Tesla, born in Smiljan, Croatia (then Austria-Hungary), in a Serbian family, on July 10, 1856. He was a physicist, mathematician, electrical engineer and famous inventor, who revolutionized electrical theory by inventing and developing alternating current He died in New York, United States, on January 7, 1943.
Nicola Tesla was one of the brightest minds in the history of mankind. However, the achievements of this inventor were overshadowed by his contemporary Thomas Edison and by a society that did not want to honor a foreigner capable of obscuring the inventive capacity of his greatest scientific hero. However, his work encompasses more than 700 patents that include the bases of the television system, radio, microwave and the controversial American defense system known as “Star Wars.”
Tesla was a great mind for science. Some of his studies nobody could decipher them due to their enormous inductive capacity. For most of his projects he thought of the head documents, it was enough to have the image of that object without knowing how it worked, he simply prepared it while not knowing that it can be a good advance for humanity.
His enmity with Thomas Edison is well known. After working several months improving the designs of the direct current generators, and while giving him several patents that Edison registered as his own, he refused to pay him the 50,000 dollars he had promised if he succeeded (and using the free improvements), arguing that it was an “American joke,” and even refused to raise his salary to $ 25 a week. Edison invented the electric chair that uses alternating current (developed by Tesla) instead of direct current – of which he was the impeller – to give a bad name to the invention of the European.
This thing also heard about him that Nikola Tesla did not make plans, but memorized everything. It is also said that he only slept three hours a day. A good part of the final stage of his life was absorbed by the judicial process he initiated in relation to the invention of the radio, which was disputed with Guglielmo Marconi, as Tesla had invented a similar device at least 15 years earlier. In the sixties, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the radio-related patent was legitimately owned by Tesla, legally recognizing it as the inventor of the radio, although this did not transcend public opinion, which continues to consider Marconi as its inventor.
According to certain rumors, as he grew older he became more and more eccentric; At the end of his life he lived constantly in hotels, from which he left (in search of a new one) when he could not pay the bulky bill. He periodically summoned the press to present some of his inventions, to which more eccentric: for example, he proposed to illuminate part of the Sahara desert so that the Martians could prove that the Earth was inhabited and contained intelligent beings. In his last years he lived alone, sullen and distrustful. On another occasion, he said he had a beam capable of creating frequency waves capable of “splitting the earth in two as if it were an apple.”
The owners of the companies that had always heard him, saw in him a dangerous visionary capable of delivering free energy to all citizens, little by little they began to turn their backs on him. Others, who took sides in favor of Edison in his fight against the Serbian inventor, joined the long line of people willing to say that he was a character close to madness and raving.
Nikola Tesla was born in the town of Smiljan on the Austro-Hungarian Military Frontier, was educated in Graz and later in Prague where he studied electrical engineering. Owner of a brilliant inventiveness, he had his first job in 1882 at the Paris headquarters of the Edison companies and then in Strasbourg, Austria, where, in his spare time, he developed the first induction motor.
In 1884, with very little money (in his biography he says he landed with only 4 cents in his pockets) he emigrated to the United States to try a career. In New York he began working almost immediately in the laboratories of Thomas Edison where he finished developing many of the works on which the greatest American inventor worked for many years. Tesla’s inventive ability and Edison’s professional jealousy caused the relationship between them to end with Tesla’s dismissal.
But Tesla did not give up and began raising funds to set up his own laboratory. There he developed the first AC system, a much simpler and safer way of using electricity than the continuous method proposed by Edison.
In 1884 he moved to New York, creating his own company in 1886 after breaking up with Edison. In 1893 he managed to transmit electromagnetic energy without wires, building the first radio transmitter (ahead of Guglielmo Marconi). That same year in Chicago, a public exhibition of the AC (alternating current) was made, demonstrating its superiority over Edison’s direct current (DC). Tesla presents the corresponding patent in 1897, two years after Marconi achieved his first radio transmission. However, Marconi registers his patent only on November 10, 1900 and is rejected for being considered a copy of the Tesla patent. A litigation was initiated between the company of Marconi and Tesla. After receiving the testimony of numerous leading scientists,
At the end of the 19th century, Tesla showed that using a resonant power grid, and using what was known at the time as “high frequency alternating current” (now considered low frequency), only one conductor was needed to power a system electric, without the need for another metal or a ground conductor. Tesla called this phenomenon the “transmission of electrical energy through a single cable with no return”. Tesla said in 1901: “About ten years ago, I recognized the fact that to carry electrical currents over long distances it was not at all necessary to use a return cable, but that any amount of energy could be transmitted using a single cable. I illustrated this principle through numerous experiments that, at the time,
A friend who worked at the Colorado Springs electricity company, convinced him in 1899 to move to that location and also persuaded the owners of the generating company to provide Tesla with energy at no cost. There, he began working on a 60-meter high power transmission tower called “the Tesla coil”, with which he intended to demonstrate that he could provide electricity to a large number of devices without the need for transmitter cables. His first experiment was a success. 200 light lamps were lit some distance from the tower. Tesla’s method was to transmit a frequency wave through the earth to deliver energy to the lamps located 40 kilometers from the tower.
The inventor had a great predisposition to theatricality to present his experiments. For example, it showed how a vacuum tube filled with certain gases lit up when approached to an electromagnetic field. The tubes he presented were folded so as to form the names of renowned scientists specially invited for that opportunity. This form of lighting is what was later developed as a fluorescent tube, widely used today.
Time passed and Tesla had to turn to the government to try to finance his ideas. Based on the experiments of the “Tesla coil”, he presented a project to build an artifact capable of launching an electromagnetic beam thousands of miles away “capable of shooting down aircraft 400 kilometers away.” It was then the first years of the First World War and Tesla then saw the opportunity to join the rearmament effort of the United States. He also presented a series of plans to build remote-controlled torpedo boats, ensuring that if he had counted on them, during the war against Spain, the United States would have won the war in just one afternoon without losing a single man in the race.
Tesla’s proposals were ignored and then the inventor received an order from the German Navy to develop a new electric propulsion system, which is supposed to be the basis for the development of the engines that the Germans then used in their submarines during the Second War. world. But the entry of the United States into war and the danger of being accused of treason caused Tesla to cut off his relationship with the Germans.
Nikola Tesla and his Wardenclyffe tower located in Shoreham, Long Island, New York: the economic breakdown did not allow him to complete the construction of Wardenclyffe and deprived him of his goal of giving humanity all the necessary energy, totally free
Through a letter, he addressed the then President Wilson, revealing that he had a lightning bolt capable of destroying large areas of land. He called his invention “the death ray.” According to his letter, he had already achieved concrete results that demonstrated the enormous destructive power of his weapon and put as a condition for its delivery that it was used only for defensive purposes. He also revealed that during 1908, while his friend Robert Peary was trying to reach the North Pole, he sent one of his rays to fall west of where he was. According to the records at the Tesla Foundation, he sent a cryptic telegram to Peary announcing that he would receive an unequivocal signal from Tesla while on his way to the Pole.
Peary returned without having noticed anything abnormal. But on the same day that Peary conquered the Pole, a devastating and still unexplained explosion shook the Tunguska area in Siberia, Russia. Nearly 3,000 square kilometers of forest were swept by an explosion that was estimated to have the equivalent power of an atomic bomb of 50 megatons. A convincing explanation was never given to the event, since the remains of some meteorite, crater or other factor capable of explaining such devastation were never found. The subsequent explosion was heard 620 miles away from the site.
In his letter to the president, Tesla suggested that his lightning had been the culprit of that explosion and, due to errors in his calculations, the outbreak had occurred in an area far from his plans. He wrote that when he learned of the danger that his invention contained, he decided to disassemble the machine until the conditions were given for it to be properly understood, but that, due to the unbridled state of the war, he offered to rearm to recover the world equilibrium.
The letter was received by a secretary of the presidency and never reached its destination. Later Tesla made a new attempt and on the end of the war he proposed a beam of electromagnetic waves to detect airplanes and submarines at a distance, but his eternal competitor, Thomas Edison, recommended discarding the idea as unfeasible. Years later the British developed the system and called it radar, which, later, was adapted to operate in the depths and served to develop modern sonars.
Condemned to be treated as a marginal science, Tesla ended his years bitter and trying to subsidize his experiments with the little he received from multiple patents developed throughout his prolific career. But the sum of envy and teasing prevented him from regaining the prestige and respect of those he enjoyed at the beginning of his days. In a last attempt to contribute with his inventions to humanity, he sent reproductions of the plans of his “death ray” to the governments of the United States, France, Russia and the United Kingdom, with the idea that with such destructive power in In the hands of all powers, a balance would be achieved that could bring a new era of prosperity and peace to humanity.
Sick due to his continuous exposure to intense electromagnetic fields, Tesla died during 1943 trying in vain to contribute his ideas to the American effort to defeat the war axle machinery. By way of final recognition of his career, that same year, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in favor of Tesla, indicating that the patents filed by the Serbian were decades prior to those of Marconi and contained all the theoretical principles necessary to develop Radio.
His works removed humanity from primitivism and gave man a technological freedom that nobody thought could be achieved. Unfortunately, the greed of others and the prejudices of his time hindered his great project, his altruistic goal that would have allowed all Humanity to have free and permanent energy in every corner of the planet.
The day after his death all his notes and the devices of his laboratories were removed by government agents and to date they are still protected by state secrecy. Recent news indicates that none of the powers that received the “death ray” plans stopped taking Tesla’s invention seriously.
The United States was the first country to publicly present a particle accelerator beam (principle developed by Tesla in the 1920s) as part of its effort to create a space-based missile defense system during the 1980/90s. In addition, through the HAARP project that country studies the possibility of heating certain areas of the atmosphere in order to achieve climate control over some areas of the planet. This project is entirely based on Tesla’s experiments to transmit energy remotely.
Russia seems to possess an electromagnetic beam whose effects are very similar to those Tesla describes that can cause its beam. In 1987, the leader of the Russian ultra-right, Valentin Shirinovsky, threatened the West to use “the death ray” capable of destroying all NATO forces operating against Serbia during the Balkan crisis. Western intelligence sources rushed to deny that such a weapon existed, but the Russian press released some documents that revealed that the former Soviet Union had that lightning since the fifties. The irony of fate wanted the Russian to threaten to use the weapon on earth that saw his mentor be born for the first time.
Time passed and Tesla gradually begins to be recognized as one of the greatest inventors of the modern era, a little late perhaps for someone who raised the utopia of using energy as a method to achieve a greater degree of well-being and equity in The humanity. His fight with Edison and his attempts to pass over the rules of mercantilist capitalism earned him the opprobrium of the businessmen and the active ignorance of the officials of the country he adopted as his in 1891. His double status as a foreigner and utopian of the future. they relegated to a place of oblivion. Today, a growing group of people inquire about the life and work of this misunderstood genius, whose greatest merit was to combine knowledge with sensitivity towards humanity.
Amazing ideas from Tesla
One of the reasons why Tesla has remained unrecognized as a scientist is that his ideas were so bright that they were well ahead of their time. These are some examples:
Tesla discovered the principle of radar, the electron microscope and the microwave oven. Edison described the idea of radar as “ridiculous,” so that 25 years had to be waited for it to be officially invented.
The first remote control machine he showed In 1898 thus initiating the science of robotics.
He was the first man to receive radio signals from outer space. The press called him “crazy” for this statement. The radio telescopes of today have made it possible to verify that he actually received signals from distant stars.
The biggest artificial lightning the first and until today, he produced. Average 40 meters long.
He designed a turbine engine that used discs instead of blades. When built with modern materials, this is still one of the best engines ever designed.
He stated that one of his experiments revealed the existence of particles with a lower charge than that of an electron. At present these particles are known as “Quarks” and were discovered in 1977.
He predicted the current missiles by warning that one day there would be airplanes without wings that would carry explosives and be guided by remote control until they fell into enemy territory.
Tesla spoke several languages fluently. Together with the Serbian, he spoke seven other languages: Czechoslovak, English, French, German, Hungarian, Italian and Latin.
Tesla suffered an obsessive-compulsive disorder, and had several unusual manias and phobias. He did things based on the number three, and when he stayed in hotels he stayed in rooms with a number divisible by three. Tesla also suffered a physical revulsion towards jewelry, particularly pearl earrings. He was insistent with cleanliness and hygiene, and he was misophobic – irrational fear of germs. He hated touching human hair that was not his as much as spherical objects.
Tesla was obsessed with pigeons, ordering special seeds for the pigeons he fed in Central Park and even bringing some with him to his hotel room. Tesla loved animals, and very often he reflected on the cat of his childhood, which he called “The Magnificent Macak”. Tesla never married. He was celibate and claimed that his chastity was very useful for his scientific abilities. However, numerous women sought Tesla’s affection, some even falling madly in love with him.
Despite his tendency to get away from people, when he was in social situations, many spoke of him in a positive and admiring way. Tesla’s friend, writer Hawthorne, wrote that it was very rare “to meet a scientist or engineer who was also a poet, a philosopher, an appreciator of good music, a linguist, and a connoisseur of food and drink. ” Anyway, Tesla was occasionally cruel, expressing disgust for overweight people, laying off employees for their weight. He also criticized the clothes of others, demanding that his subordinates return home to change several times.
Testa was known for his spectacular performances, showing his innovations to the public in an artistic way, as if he were a magician. This seemed to contradict his seclusion; Tesla was a complicated figure. He refused to hold conventions without his Tesla coil firing electricity through the room, often terrorizing the audience.
Tesla lived the last 10 years of his life in a two-room suite on the 33rd floor of the New Yorker Hotel, room 3327. There, near the end of his life, Tesla showed signs of mental illness, claiming to be visited by a white dove in specific daily.
In 1926, Tesla commented on gender equality for women, indicating that in the future humanity would be led by the “queen bees”. in the future he believed that women would become the dominant sex. In his last years he became a vegetarian, stating that the killing of animals was cruel and barbaric. At the same time, he developed an extreme sensitivity to light, sound and other influences.
Tesla in popular culture
In his novel The Prestige, Christopher Priest, contemporary English author, uses the character of Tesla making him an inventor of an ingenious electrical device used by one of the illusionists who star in the story. This novel was adapted for the cinema by Christopher Nolan. In the adaptation, Tesla’s character is played by David Bowie.
In 1984, a musical group called Tesla was formed in Sacramento, California, United States, which derived its name, some album and song titles and some content from event songs related to the inventor.
The American duo The Handsome Family on his album “The last days of wonder” has a song about Tesla: “Tesla’s Hotel Room”, which refers precisely to his love for hotels, his relationship with Edison and Westinghouse, the circumstances of his Death and his enormous contributions to science.
In the novel “The Palace of the Moon” by Paul Auster, old Effing tells how he marked the ingenuity of Nikola Tesla and mentions enmity with Edison.
In the video game Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Legend, the protagonist must operate the wireless electricity transmission system devised by Tesla.
In the video game Command & Conquer: Red Alert appears a defense system called “Tesla Coil”, similar to the invention that the scientist used to investigate electromagnetic phenomena, but in the game it consists of a tower capable of emitting a very powerful electric beam to destroy enemies, as well as Tesla Troopers endowed with lightning rod weapons.
Also in the video game Return To Castle wolfenstein in the X Laboratories, Tesla technology is used in large quantities, applying from the security of doors to local energy production. At the end of this stage there is also a Tesla weapon capable of launching current beams towards the enemy at great distances. Similar to this weapon, it is the “Tesla Claw” of the Ratchet and Clank videogame, a glove that ends in pincers, which throw electric rays. Ratchet uses it not only to bring down enemies, but also to operate different devices, such as opening a door, remotely.
Tesla’s life was focused on science and its inventions. All his scientific invention was based on a basic principle that was to take advantage of natural resources for the development and progress of society, without damaging the environment. Above all, he studied how to use water to generate energy and came to build a hydroelectric power station in Niagara Falls. With his prodigious mind he managed to develop a system of alternating current in electricity that allowed the illumination of an entire city and that today is the one used to bring light to our homes. He developed the basis for radio, television, mobile phones, and many other devices that we use in our daily lives, and that without Tesla’s creative genius would not have been possible.
He developed a very prolific scientific activity, he came to see many of his ideas and others, equally great, but perhaps too advanced for his time, are currently being reviewed and could be implemented throughout this 21st century, as per For example, wireless power transmission. This program will analyze all these aspects in depth of the life and work of this brilliant inventor.
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