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150th Anniversary of the Birth of Nikola Tesla

Updated on June 1, 2011
Nikola Tesla
Nikola Tesla | Source

Nikola Tesla was born in 1856 in the village of Smilijan in Austria. Later he became a naturalized American citizen in 1891. He was a contemporary of Thomas Edison and was often competing against him with inventions. He also invented the radio almost at the same time Marconi did and is now credited with inventing it before Marconi.

A fictional Tesla has shown up often in movies with a science fiction slant because his inventions were not what most scientists of his day would classify as “normal.” However, Tesla is widely respected as one of the greatest electrical engineers who worked in America and the world. He pioneered modern electrical engineering and many of his discoveries were of groundbreaking importance.

Tesla explored the wireless transmission of energy through his work with radio and microwaves. He created the Tesla coil and the magnifying transmitter. With these inventions Tesla worked toward a system where energy could be broadcast across great distances. His dream was to create a worldwide wireless electrical energy system. He built the Wardenclyffe Tower in Shoreham, Long Island for this purpose. Before it was completed, however, major financers pulled out of the project and he was forced to abandon it.

Tesla went on to invent many other objects that helped to propel him into the realm of “science fiction.” He has over 300 patients in his name. Tesla invented and tried to sell a device he called the “peace ray,” which is familiar to most as the “death ray.” He also demonstrated a remote controlled boat in 1898, which he presented as the predecessor of a race of robots.

In Tesla’s autobiography he expressed how he experienced detailed moments of inspiration. In his youth Tesla was often ill. One of the maladies he suffered from was being plagued with blinding flashes of light that would appear before his eyes, often accompanied by visions. The visions often were linked with ideas he had been working on or the visions would provide answers so problems he had with projects. He could envision an invention in realistic detail and with extreme precision, including all dimensions. He typically did not make drawings by hand, but could create an entire project using the details he saw in his mind.

This process is referred to as “Visual Thinking.” It has often been associated with Autism. It could also be explained as being shown ideas and being inspired by higher powers of the Universe. However he was able to come up with so many electrical wonders, Tesla was a visionary who also believed that “ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.”


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    • Christine B. profile image

      Christine B. 6 years ago from Medina, Ohio

      Thanks, OddDustin--and yes he was... It's a shame he's not as well-known as Edison.

    • OddDustin profile image

      OddDustin 6 years ago from Rancho Cucamonga, CA

      Great hub, Tesla was a genius.