'I don't care that they stole my idea . . I care that they don't have any of their own' -Nikola Tesla
“Hell, there are no rules here - we’re trying to accomplish something.” -Thomas A. Edison
Anonymous said: You said on twitter that Nicola Tesla was your personal hero. Why exactly? I've never heard of the guy.
A sardonic eccentric who was closer to his work than he was other people, Tesla may not be as well known as Edison, Einstein, Sagan (who I’m also a massive fanboy of), Hawking, Heisenburg, Kepler, or Darwin, but he quite literally changed the way we live our lives. Most of what we have today could not have been possible without his genius.
Let’s just do a short-list of his achievements:
- He innovated an electrical system known as ‘alternating current’ or AC, which is still used to power households the world over. He actually tried to give it to the world for free too.
- Marconi’s pioneering of ‘radio technology’ actually couldn’t have happened without Tesla’s work. In fact, Marconi used 17 of Tesla’s patents and Tesla allowed him to without seeking legal action or asking to be paid. He’s quoted as saying, “Let him use them, he is doing good work.”
- Watson-Watt is know for inventing radar in 1935, but the idea was first penned by Tesla in 1917.
- Rontgen is often credited with the discovery of X-Rays, but - again - Tesla came up with it first.
- He built the first hydro-electric plant at Niagara Falls and proved that it was a viable energy solution.
- His patents, well over a hundred years old, would eventually be used to develop the transistor. You know, the thing that allows your computer and smart phone to work.
- He was the first to discover the resonant frequency of the Earth. He even was able to build an ‘earthquake machine’ that almost leveled all of the buildings on his block.
- Tesla developed the remote control.
- Tesla developed neon lighting.
- Tesla developed the modern electric motor.
- Tesla was the first to conceive of wireless communications. In fact, he came up with the notion of wireless internet and smart phones back in 1901. That’s right — 1901. He was actually financed by JP Morgan to create a tower that wirelessly transmitted both signals and electricity. And he succeeded — it’s something that is only today becoming a part of our daily technology.
- He is responsible for lasers — which are used today for everything from geographic surveying to tattoo removal. He destroyed it because he feared that war-faring nations would use the technology as a death ray, harming millions.
- Oh, and then there’s the Tesla coil seen in the badass gif above. The dude was a master of electricity, and we only started to understand his inventions 50 years after his death.
Again, that’s just a short list of what he’s done for us. It’s a pretty impressive list too, I would say. But that’s not what makes the man great.
Nicola Tesla died penniless and alone in a New York hotel room. Every single thing he created was developed with the intention of making the world a better place for everyone. He didn’t care about money. He didn’t care about acclaim. He just wanted everyone to live better.
He’s a hero, and he deserves our respect.