Nikola Tesla was a Serbian-American inventor, physicist and expert in electrophysics. He was born in Similijan (a village in today's Croatia) in 1856. He had an extraordinary memory and spoke 6 languages. He spent 4 years working on math, physics and mechanics at Graz University of Technology, in Austria.
His scientific contributions are many and of great importance. We surely can't tell you about everything, but here are 21 pieces of information we think you didn't know and will find interesting.
1. We rarely come across his name in textbooks, although the many experiments and inventions he made could entirely and fundamentally change the scientific and technological structure of the world.
2. Most people think that Marconi invented radio, Rontgen discovered X rays, and Forest the vacuum tube amplifier. Also, there are few people who know that Tesla invented florescent lamps, neon lights, the speedometer, the firing system in automobiles, electron microscopes, microwave ovens and did the ground work for radar.
3. When Tesla first came to the USA in 1884, he started working for Thomas Edison. Edison hadn't taken the patent for the light-bulb and was still in need of a system to distribute electricity.
4. Although Edison invited Tesla to his deathbed to apologize from him, Tesla declined Edison's last wish thinking it would be wiser to work on inventions for humanity rather than to listen to Edison's twaddling.
5. Nikola Tesla was the first person to claim that electricity can be spread from a source and be transmitted in very large amounts without any wires. Later on, he proved this hypothesis with the experiments he conducted.
6. Tesla's dream was to provide free energy to the world. In 1890, Tesla started working on the tower named Wardenclyffe, which did wireless broadcasts, thanks to the $150,000 provided by J.P. Morgan.
7. His most important project was wireless energy transmission. It was in the records that he was able to light 20 bulbs with no wires, from a distance of 25 miles.
8. He said the following on alternating current:
9. He had already been using a florescent lamp even 40 years before industry "invented" it.
10. While Ford was showing off his first motor vehicle, Tesla visited him and told him that he didn't need that big of an engine. However, seeing himself as the more superior man, Ford didn't listen to Tesla, which led Tesla to invent the ignition system and show it to Ford.
11. He then introduced the first remote controlled boat modal at Madison Square Garden in 1898. Hence, we can also thank Tesla for the remote controlled planes, cars, boats and even TVs!
The remote control spacecraft, satellites and devices were developed upon Nikola Tesla's work.
12. Americans asked Edison for help to be able to detect German submarines. Tesla's idea about using energy waves for this purpose were objected to strongly by Edison. This objection is the exact reason why the device we call "radar" was invented with a delay of 25 years.
13. Tesla also paid close attention to life in outer space. He was the first to send sound waves to space from his own lab in March of the year 1899.
14. Tesla had already shown the principles of the radio 10 years prior to Marconi's "invention."
15. It was obvious that Tesla saw nature in a way that others can't. The fact that he could light bulbs from kilometers away and that he could control powerful natural incidents such as earthquakes and thunderstorms prove this.
16. Tesla built the first hydroelectric power plant in Niagara Falls.
His statue at Niagara
17. What do you think Tesla received for all his success? An Edison Medal! There can't be a worse award for a person who was criticized by Edison so harshly.
18. He had countless experiments and investments. He made it to the world records on 7th of January, 1943 as the person with the most patents.
19. This great man, who invented the modern world, was found dead in the New Yorker Hotel on January 7th, 1943. He could have been a billionaire, but he unfortunately ended up penniless.
New Yorker Hotel, where he passed away
That room was named after him.
20. Today's scientists still go through his notes line by line. His eccentric theories have been proven by some famous scientists.
21. He mentioned experiments that proved the existence of the loaded particles in neutrons. Scientists finally discovered them in 1977: Quarks.
He is the only (physics) scientist who has ever refused the Nobel Prize.
David Bowie portrayed Nikola Tesla in the movie "The Prestige" (2006).
An electric car modal: Tesla
Tesla bobbins in Red Alert
A Serbian banknote
We have started appreciating him more and more; and the scientists trying to steal his ideas are referenced quite often.
And some words of wisdom by Tesla: "Money does not represent such a value as men have placed upon it."
"All my money has been invested into experiments with which I have made new discoveries enabling mankind to have a little easier life."
“If your hate could be turned into electricity, it would light up the whole world."
"Let the future tell the truth, and evaluate each one according to his work and accomplishments. The present is theirs; the future, for which I have really worked, is mine."