Today, 10th July 2016, marks the 160th birthday of Nikola Tesla. Nikola Tesla was a Serbian-American inventor, electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, physicist and futurist. In a time where most of the world still relied on candles for their light, he pioneered the idea of alternating current (AC) which, to this day, is what powers every home on the planet. We have Tesla to thank for taking us into a second industrial revolution.
In his early career, Tesla worked for professional dickhead, Thomas Edison. When we think of Edison, most of us think of the man who invented the light bulb, but this simply isn’t the case. He took the ideas of 22 less powerful men and monopolised on the idea. I will, for this reason only, admit that Edison was a genius. However, he was a genius of enterprise, not of electrical engineering.
Edison offered Tesla the modern equivalent of $1 million if he would fix the problems Edison was having with his DC (direct current) motors and generators. After he had fixed them, Edison refused to give Tesla the money.
Tesla then understandably fell out with Edison and went on to develop his alternating current electrical system. This led to a fight between Tesla and Edison as the latter was trying to sell direct current to the world. (DC requires many power plants and cannot travel very far whereas AC uses thinner wires, higher voltages and can travel longer distances). Edison proceeded to pay local children to bring him dogs and cats so that he could publically electrocute them with AC in an effort to show that Tesla’s system was too dangerous for home use.
Tesla is behind many of the things we use today though he is often uncredited. His work was used as a base to create radio, radar, x-rays, hydroelectric power, remote control, neon lighting, the modern electric motor, wireless communications and transistors. He was also the first person to record radio waves from space, he created and earthquake machine and created ball lightning in a controlled environment. That last one has never been done by anyone else. Ever.
Tesla spoke eight languages. He could memorise entire books and recite them at will. He could visualise inventions and then build them without writing anything down.
After all this, Tesla died aged 86, broke and alone in New York City, living off crackers and milk. He deserved so much more than what he got and the only way we can try to thank him now is to remember what he did and how he changed the world for the better.
Thanks for reading! This man is genuinely an inspiration of mine so it would mean a lot if you would let me know what you think. Also whether you would like me to write more appreciation posts like this and if so, of whom.