By Ronnie H, from http://groups.yahoo.com/group/circle2012dreams
Here's a task for you to try:
Go check your encyclopedia to find the answers to the following
questions: (answers are given in parentheses)
1) Who invented the radio? (Marconi)
2) Who discovered X-rays? (Roentgen)
3) Who invented the vacuum tube amplifier? (de Forest)
In fact, while you're at it, check to see who discovered the
fluorescent bulb, neon lights, speedometer, the automobile ignition
system, and the basics behind radar, electron microscope, and the
Chances are that you will see little mention of a guy named Nikola
Tesla, the most famous scientist in the world at the turn of the
In fact, few people today have ever heard of the guy. Good old Tommy
Edison made sure of that.
After all, Tesla was considered an eccentric who talked of death
rays that could destroy 10,000 airplanes at a distance of 250 miles,
claimed to be able split the Earth in two, believed that both voice
and image could be transmitted through the air (in the late 1800's),
and essentially told Edison to take his DC electrical system and
stick it you know where.
In other words, anyone that has even heard of Tesla probably
considers him to be a first class wacko.
But, the times are a changin'.
The problem is that Tesla probably could do all these things that he
claimed were possible. In fact, Tesla invented every single one of
the items listed above (but gets no credit) and much more. Look
around you and chances are Tesla is somehow responsible for most of
the things that make modern life so modern.
No doubt about it, Nikola Tesla is the greatest mind since da
So who is this genius?
Little Nicky Tesla was born in Smijlan, Croatia way back in 1856. He
had an extraordinary memory and spoke six languages. He spent four
years at the Polytechnic Institute at Gratz studying math, physics,
What made Tesla great, however, was his amazing understanding of
electricity. Remember that this was a time when electricity was
still in its infancy. The lightbulb hadn't even been invented yet.
When Tesla first came to the United States in 1884, he worked for
Thomas Edison. Edison had just patented the lightbulb, so he needed
a system to distribute electricity.
Edison had all sorts of problems with his DC system of electricity.
He promised Tesla big bucks in bonuses if he could get the bugs out
of the system. Tesla ended up saving Edison over $100,000 (millions
of $$$ by today's standards), but Edison refused to live up to his
end of the bargain.
Tesla quit and Edison spent the rest of his life trying to squash
Tesla's genius (and the main reason Tesla is unknown today).
Tesla devised a better system for electrical transmission - the AC
(alternating current) system that we use in our homes today. AC
offered great advantages over the DC system. By using Tesla's newly
developed transformers, AC voltages could be stepped up and
transmitted over long distances through thin wires. DC could not
(requiring a large power plant every square mile while transmitting
through very thick cables).
Of course, a system of transmission would be incomplete without
devices to run on them. So, he invented the motors that are used in
every appliance in your house. This was no simple achievement -
scientists of the late 1800's were convinced that no motor could be
devised for an alternating current system, making the use of AC a
waste of time. After all, if the current reverses direction 60 times
a second, the motor will rock back and forth and never get anywhere.
Tesla solved this problem easily and proved everyone wrong.
He was using fluorescent bulbs in his lab some forty years before
industry "invented" them. At World's Fairs and similar exhibitions,
he took glass tubes and molded them into the shapes of famous
scientists' names - the first neon signs that we see all around us
today. I almost forgot - Tesla designed the world's first
hydroelectric plant, located in Niagara Falls. He also patented the
first speedometer for cars.
Word began to spread about his AC system and it eventually reached
the ears of one George Westinghouse.
Tesla signed a contract with Westinghouse under which he would
receive $2.50 for each kilowatt of AC electricity sold.
Suddenly, Tesla had the cash to start conducting all the experiments
he ever dreamed of.
But Edison had too much money invested in his DC system, so Tommy
did his best to discredit Tesla around every turn. Edison constantly
tried to show that AC electricity was far more dangerous than his DC
Tesla counteracted by staging his own marketing campaign. At the
1893 World Exposition in Chicago (attended by 21 million people), he
demonstrated how safe AC electricity was by passing high frequency
AC power through his body to power light bulbs. He then was able to
shoot large lightning bolts from his Tesla coils to the crowd
without harm. Nice trick!
When the royalties owed to Tesla started to exceed $1 million,
Westinghouse ran into financial trouble. Tesla realized that if his
contract remained in effect, Westinghouse would be out of business
and he had no desire to deal with the creditors. His dream was to
have cheap AC electric available to all people. Tesla took his
contract and ripped it up! Instead of becoming the world's first
billionaire, he was paid $216,600 outright for his patents.
In 1898, he demonstrated to the world the first remote controlled
model boat at Madison Square Garden. So you can thank Tesla for the
invention of those remote controlled planes, cars, and boats (and
Tesla had a dream of providing free energy to the world. In 1900,
backed by $150,000 from financier J.P. Morgan, Tesla began
construction of his so called "Wireless Broadcasting System" tower
on Long Island, New York. This broadcasting tower was intended to
link the world's telephone and telegraph services, as well as
transmit pictures, stock reports, and weather information worldwide.
Unfortunately, Morgan cut funding when he realized that it meant
FREE energy for the world.
Many stories claim that the U. S. government destroyed the tower
during World War One for fear that the German u-boat spies would use
the tower as a landmark to navigate by. In reality, Tesla ran into
financial trouble after Morgan cut funding for the project and the
tower was sold for scrap to pay off creditors.
The world thought he was nuts - after all, transmission of voice,
picture, and electricity was unheard of at this time.
What they didn't know was that Tesla had already demonstrated the
principles behind radio nearly ten years before Marconi's supposed
invention. In fact, in 1943 (the year Tesla died), the Supreme Court
ruled that Marconi's patents were invalid due to Tesla's previous
descriptions. Still, most references do not credit Tesla with the
invention of radio. (Sidenote: Marconi's radio did not transmit
voices - it transmitted a signal - something Tesla had demonstrated
At this point, the press started to exaggerate Tesla's claims.
Tesla reported that he had received radio signals from Mars and
Venus. Today we know that he was actually receiving the signals from
distant stars, but too little was known about the universe at that
time. Instead, the press had a field day with his "outrageous"
In his Manhattan lab, Tesla made the earth into an electric tuning
fork. He managed to get a steam-driven oscillator to vibrate at the
same frequency as the ground beneath him (like Ella Fitzgerald
breaking the glass with her voice in those old Memorex
The result? An earthquake on all the surrounding city blocks. The
buildings trembled, the windows broke, and the plaster fell off the
Tesla contended that, in theory, the same principle could be used to
destroy the Empire State Building or even possibly split the Earth
in two. Tesla had accurately determined the resonant frequencies of
the Earth almost 60 years before science could confirm his results.
Don't think he didn't attempt something like splitting the Earth
open (well, sort of).
In his Colorado Springs lab in 1899, he sent waves of energy all the
way through the Earth, causing them to bounce back to the source
(providing the theory for today's accurate earthquake seismic
stations). When the waves came back, he added more electricity to
The result? The largest man-made lightning bolt ever recorded - 130
feet! - a world's record still unbroken!
The accompanying thunder was heard 22 miles away. The entire meadow
surrounding his lab had a strange blue glow, similar to that of St.
But, this was only a warm-up for his real experiment! Unfortunately,
he blew out the local power plant's equipment and he was never able
to repeat the experiment.
At the beginning of World War I, the government desperately searched
for a way to detect German submarines. The government put Thomas
Edison in charge of the search for a good method. Tesla proposed the
use of energy waves - what we know today as radar - to detect these
ships. Edison rejected Tesla's idea as ludicrous and the world had
to wait another 25 years until it was invented.
His reward for a lifetime of creativity? The prized (to everyone but
Tesla) Edison Medal! A real slap in the face after all the verbal
abuse Tesla took from Edison.
The stories go on and on.
Industry's attempt (obviously very successful) to purge him from the
scientific literature had driven him into exile for nearly twenty
years. Lacking capital, he was forced to place his untested theories
into countless notebooks.
The man who invented the modern world died nearly penniless at age
86 on January 7, 1943. More than two thousand people attended his
In his lifetime, Tesla received over 800 different patents. He
probably would have exceeded Edison's record number if he wasn't
always broke - he could afford very few patent applications during
the last thirty years of his life.
Unlike Edison, Tesla was an original thinker whose ideas typically
had no precedent in science. Unfortunately, the world does not
financially reward people of Tesla's originality. We only award
those that take these concepts and turn them into a refined, useful
Scientists today continue to scour through his notes. Many of his
far flung theories are just now being proven by our top scientists.
For example, the Tesla bladeless disk turbine engine that he
designed, when coupled with modern materials, is proving to be among
the most efficient motors ever designed. His 1901 patented
experiments with cryogenic liquids and electricity provide the
foundation for modern superconductors. He talked about experiments
that suggested particles with fractional charges of an electron -
something that scientists in 1977 finally discovered - quarks!
Maybe history will finally recognize a true genius when it sees
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