Who he was

Nikola Tesla was born in July of 1856, in what is now Croatia. Tesla grew up into bright inquisitive, yet eccentric child, who found himself fascinated by the world around him. On June 6th, 1884, Tesla arrived in the United States. He was hired by Thomas Edison to do basic electrical engineering. He later went on to do his own experimenting and research as well as teach on the university level. Tesla lived a long life. He died on January 7th, 1943 at the age of 86.


His Life

Tesla's interest in electrical invention was spurred by his mother, Djuka Mandic, who invented small household appliances in her spare time while her son was growing up. Tesla's father, Milutin Tesla, was an Orthodox priest and a writer, and he pushed for his son to join the priesthood. But Nikola's interests lay squarely in the sciences. After studying at the Realschule, Karlstadt, the Polytechnic Institute in Graz, Austria, and the University of Prague during the 1870s, Tesla moved to Budapest, where for a time he worked at the Central Telephone Exchange. It was while in Budapest that the idea for the induction motor first came to Tesla, but after several years of trying to gain interest in his invention, at age 28 Tesla decided to leave Europe for America.


His Design

Tesla was renowned for his achievements and showmanship, eventually earning him a reputation in popular culture as an archetypal "mad scientist." His patents earned him a considerable amount of money, much of which was used to finance his own projects with varying degrees of success. Here are a few of his more famous projects.


    • Induction Motor
    • The first alternating-current commutatorless induction motors have been independently invented by Galileo Ferraris and Nikola Tesla, a working motor model having been demonstrated by the former in 1885 and by the latter in 1887. Tesla applied for U.S. patents in October and November 1887 and was granted some of these patents in May 1888.

    • Tesla Coil
    • The original Tesla coil transformer employed a capacitor which, upon break-down of a short spark gap, became connected to a coil of a few turns (the primary winding set), forming a resonant circuit with the frequency of oscillation, usually 20–100 kHz, determined by the capacitance of the capacitor and the inductance of the coil. The capacitor was charged to the voltage necessary to rupture the air of the gap during the input line cycle, about 10 kV by a line-powered transformer connected across the gap. The line transformer was designed to have higher than normal leakage inductance to tolerate the short circuit occurring while the gap remained ionized, or for the few milliseconds until the high frequency current had died away.

    • Remote control vehicles
    • Tesla once said, "The world moves slowly, and new truths are difficult to see." It was his way of responding to the crowd's stunned disbelief upon viewing his scientific wizardry at New York's Madison Square Garden in 1898. Using a small, radio-transmitting control box, he was able to maneuver a tiny ship about a pool of water and even flash its running lights on and off, all without any visible connection between the boat and controller.



Tesla's influence goes much further than electricity. He had over 300 patents, and came up with ideas such as:

  • Robots
  • Spark Plugs
  • the Electric Arc Lamp
  • an Xray Device
  • Blade less turbines
  • Wireless communication
  • Electric motors
  • Laser technology
  • Neon Lights
  • Remote Controls
  • Cellular communication
  • The radio
  • An electrical bath to remove germs
  • Wireless communication
  • and much more!

Tesla also made predictions about what he thought of the future. Here is an article that he published talking about a "wireless future"

Pretty crazy right?!



Tesla's legacy has endured in books, films, radio, TV, music, live theater, comics and video games. The lack of recognition received during his own lifetime has cast him as a tragic and inspirational character, well suited to dramatic fiction. The impact of the technologies invented or envisioned by Tesla is a recurring theme in several types of science fiction.

For example, on Tesla's 75th birthday in 1931, Time magazine put him on its cover. The cover caption "All the world's his power house" noted his contribution to electrical power generation. He received congratulatory letters from more than 70 pioneers in science and engineering, including Albert Einstein.

Here is a list of just some of Tesla's achievements:
  • Order of St. Sava, II Class, Government of Serbia (1892)
  • Elliott Cresson Medal (1894)
  • Order of Prince Danilo I (1895)
  • Edison Medal (1916)
  • Order of St. Sava, I Class, Government of Yugoslavia (1926)
  • Order of the Yugoslav Crown (1931)
  • John Scott Medal (1934)
  • Order of the White Eagle, I Class, Government of Yugoslavia (1936)
  • Order of the White Lion, I Class, Government of Czechoslovakia (1937)
  • University of Paris Medal (1937)
  • The Medal of the University St. Clement of Ochrida, Sofia, Bulgaria (1939)