Engineer, inventor, mad scientist – Nikola Tesla was undoubtedly one of the biggest influences to modern electricity supply systems, engineering, and electronics. He is the man who invented the 20th century. Here are just a few reasons why we love him:
He was born during a lightning storm.
For someone destined to become the man who harnessed electricity into the power system still used as the worldwide standard today, there is perhaps no grander or more fitting entrance for a man who would leave such a mark on the world.
He once shot current through his own body just to prove a point.
At the height of the aforementioned rivalry between Edison and Tesla, Edison and his cohorts would illustrate the dangers of Tesla’s Alternating Current by electrocuting animals. Tesla’s response? Shooting current through his body, thus producing light and effectively demonstrating just how safe AC was.
He conceived of what essentially amounts to smartphone technology- in 1901.
Decades before the invention of handheld data-receiving devices, Tesla developed an idea wherein he and his business partner would aggregate telegram messages and stock quotes, encode them, and assign them frequencies. That frequency would then be broadcast to a device that would fit in someone’s hand.
He maintained a level of mutual respect with even his largest rival, Thomas Edison.
Upon his arrival in the United States, Tesla was hired by Edison to help with the designing of his direct current generators. Tesla quit mere months later in order to pursue his own invention, the alternating current induction motor, and thus began the so-called “Current Wars” the decades-long conflict between the two on how electricity should be produced and distributed.
Despite a decades-long butting of heads that allegedly included shady business practices, stolen ideas, and even patent suppression, Tesla and Edison are still considered to be the Steve Jobs and Bill Gates of their time in that they publicly acknowledged and showed respect for each others' intelligence. Edison once attended an event where Tesla was speaking and, when Tesla spotted him in the audience, he led the crowd in giving Edison a standing ovation. Likewise, Edison provided Tesla a laboratory to use when Tesla’s caught on fire.
His ideas helped shape the world we live in today.
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