physicist, inventor, and electrical engineer
Inventor Nikola; Edison contemporary; Physicist Nikola; Induction
motor inventor; Electronics
pioneer Nikola; Unit of induction; Current pioneer
5 times a year
Missing Secrets of Nikola Tesla
Edison had a needle to find in a haystack, he would proceed at
once with the diligence of the bee to examine straw after straw
until he found the object of his search. I was a sorry witness of
such doings, knowing that a little theory and calculation would
have saved him ninety per cent of his labor.
~ Nikola Tesla
Tesla (July 10, 1856 - January 7, 1943) was a physicist,
inventor, and electrical engineer of unusual intellectual
brilliance and practical achievement. He was of Serb descent and
worked mostly in the United States.
is most famous for conceiving the rotating magnetic field
principle (1882) and then using it to invent the induction motor
together with the accompanying alternating current long-distance
electrical transmission system (1888). His theoretical work and
patents still form the basis for modern alternating current
electric power systems.
also developed numerous other electrical and mechanical devices
including the fundamental principles and machinery of wireless
technology, including the high frequency alternator, the "AND"
logic gate and the Tesla coil, as well as other devices such as
the bladeless turbine, the spark plug and numerous other
1899, Tesla decided to move and began research in Colorado
Springs, Colorado, where he could have room for his high-voltage
high-frequency experiments. He chose this location primarily
because of the frequent thunderstorms, the high altitude (where
the air, being at a lower pressure, had a lower dielectric
breakdown strength, making it easier to ionize), and the dryness
of the air (minimizing leakage of electric charge through
insulators). Also, the property was free and electric power
available from the El Paso Power Company. Today, magnetic
intensity charts also show that the ground around his lab
possesses a denser magnetic field than surrounding area. Tesla
reached Colorado Springs on May 17, 1899. Upon his arrival he
told reporters that he was conducting experiments transmitting
signals from Pikes Peak to Paris.
kept a diary of his experiments in the Colorado Springs lab where
he spent nearly nine months. It consists of 500 pages of
handwritten notes and nearly 200 drawings, recorded
chronologically between June 1, 1899 and January 7, 1900, as the
work occurred, containing explanations of his experiments. He was
developing a system for wireless telegraphy, telephony and the
transmission of power, experimented with high-voltage electricity
and the possibility of wireless transmitting and distributing
large amounts of electrical energy over long distances. He also
conceived a system for geophysical exploration--seismology--which
he called telegeodynamics,
based on his reciprocating mechanical oscillator patented in
1894, and explained that a long sequence of small explosions
could be used to find ore and create earthquakes large enough to
destroy the Earth. He did not experiment with this as he felt
there would not be "a desirable outcome".
of what Tesla discovered while in this lab has been lost to
history and Tesla's own secrecy. To this very day there is talk
of Tesla's Death Ray being invented there as well as
communication with other planets. How much of this is true is now
unknown, but has made Tesla's time at this remote lab a
wellspring for Urban legends about him.
left Colorado Springs on January 7, 1900. The lab was torn down,
broken up, and its contents sold to pay debts. The Colorado
experiments prepared Tesla for his next project, the
establishment of a wireless power transmission facility that
would be known as Wardenclyffe. On March 21, 1900, Tesla was
granted US685012 patent for the means for increasing the
intensity of electrical oscillations. The United States Patent
Office classification system currently denotes that this patent
pertains to superconductivity technology (Class 505/825).
started to exhibit pronounced symptoms of obsessive-compulsive
disorder in the years following. He became obsessed with the
number three. He often felt compelled to walk around a block
three times before entering a building, demanded a stack of three
folded cloth napkins beside his plate at every meal, etc. The
nature of OCD was little understood at the time and no treatments
were available, so his symptoms were considered by some to be
evidence of partial insanity and this probably hurt what was left
of his reputation. This obsessive-compulsive behavior may have
originated from the observations over repeated polyphase systems
in nature that Tesla researched.
died alone in the hotel New Yorker of heart failure, some time
between the evening of January 5 and the morning of January 8,
1943. Despite selling his AC electricity patents, he was
essentially destitute and died with significant debts.
the time of his death, Tesla had been working on some form of
weapon, or death
the secrets of which he had offered to the United States War
Department on the morning of January 5. It appears that his
proposed death ray was related to his research into ball
lightning and plasma. He was found dead three days later and,
after the FBI was contacted by the War Department, his papers
were declared to be top secret.
after Tesla's death became known, the Federal Bureau of
Investigation instructed the Office of Alien Property to take
possession of his papers and property, despite his US
citizenship. All of his personal effects were seized on the
advice of presidential advisers. J. Edgar Hoover declared the
case "most secret", because of the nature of Tesla's
inventions and patents. Tesla's Serbian-Orthodox family and the
Yugoslav embassy struggled with American authorities to gain
these items after his death due to the potential significance of
some of his research.
his nephew, Sava Kosanovich, got possession of some of his
personal effects (which are now housed in the Nikola Tesla Museum
in Belgrade, Yugoslavia). Tesla's funeral took place on January
12, 1943 at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in Manhattan,
New York City.
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