Nikola Tesla was a forward-thinking Serbian-American scientist and inventor who made important contributions to physics and engineering. He is best known for his work with electricity, including the design of alternating current (AC) electricity. He also had a flair for the dramatic, creating elaborate experiments and showcasing his work with spectacular demonstrations.
- NAME: Nikola Tesla
- OCCUPATION: Engineer, Inventor
- BIRTH DATE: c. July 10, 1856
- DEATH DATE: January 07, 1943
- EDUCATION: Realschule, Karlstadt (renamed Johann-Rudolph-Glauber Realschule Karlstadt), University of Prague, The Polytechnic Institute (Graz, Austria)
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Smiljan, Croatia
- PLACE OF DEATH: New York, New York
- FULL NAME: Nikola Tesla
Read on for interesting facts and information about the scientist Nikola Tesla.
- Tesla was born to Serbian parents on the 10th of July, 1856 in the village of Smiljan, part of the Austrian Empire (now Croatia). He died on the 7th of January, 1947 in room 3327 of the New Yorker Hotel.
- After an eventful upbringing and education, Tesla moved to France in 1882 where he worked on electrical equipment at the Continental Edison Company.
- He immigrated to the USA in 1884 where he worked for Thomas Edison before resigning a year later to work on his own projects.
- Tesla went on to patent many of his inventions, including his AC induction motor and transformer which he licensed to George Westinghouse.
- Tesla, Westinghouse and Edison were at the heart of the so called ‘war of the currents’ between alternating current (AC) and direct current (DC) as a means of distributing electrical power.
- Tesla was known for high voltage experiments and demonstrations, including displays of his famous Tesla Coil which produces high voltage, low current electricity.
- In 1891, Tesla became a citizen of the United States.
- Tesla was the vice president of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers between 1892 and 1894.
- Tesla experimented with X-rays and radio waves, developing important ideas and even making a few accidental discoveries thanks to his extravagant experiments.
- Tesla moved his lab to Colorado Springs in 1899 where he proved the Earth was a conductor, produced artificial lightning and became well known to his neighbors with ambitious electrical experiments that caused booming thunder, rogue sparks and the occasional power outage.
- Tesla later worked on the Wardenclyffe Tower (or Tesla Tower), a wireless transmission tower that was never completed.
- Tesla moved to the New Yorker Hotel in 1934 where he continued his research and spent the remaining years of his life before dying in 1943 at the age of 86.
More Interesting Facts about Nikola Tesla:
Nikola was born to the son of an Orthodox Priest, Tesla claimed to sleep just 2 to 3 hours a day. Whereas Sir Isaac Newton needed 3-4 hours of sleep daily.
When Tesla arrived in New York from Serbia, he had 4 cents to his name.
Tesla brought a letter of recommendation to Thomas Edison that read: “My Dear Edison: I know two great men and you are one of them. The other is this young man!”
He was offered $50,000 to improve some of Edison’s ideas, but when he delivered, Edison claimed that he had only been “joking,” and refused to pay him.
Tesla achieved the “impossible” by demonstrating a working brushless polyphase AC induction motor to a group of wealthy investors – none of whom would invest a penny.
In 1886, Tesla persuaded investors to fund the Tesla Electric Light & Manufacturing Company. Tesla invented a revolutionary arc lamp and the company made money. The investors then promptly reaped the profits and fired Tesla, who was forced into manual labor to survive.
Tesla discovered X-ray radiation 3 years before Wilhelm Roentgen was credited for the same discovery.
In 1917, he received the Edison Medal from the American Institute of Electrical Engineers. A previous president of the AIEE was Alexander Graham Bell.
Tesla and the great storyteller, Mark Twain, were very close friends.