Nikola Tesla Day
Today is Nikola Tesla day.
Arguably the greatest engineer who ever lived, Nikola Tesla developed alternating current electricity, was the first to demonstrate short range wireless communication through radio; the first to demonstrate wireless energy transfer to power electronic devices; the first in the USA to prove the concept of hydroelectric power by building a hydroelectric plant at Niagara Falls; the first to demonstrate a brushless induction motor; the first to record radio waves from outer space; the discoverer of the resonant frequency of the earth, an early pioneer of X-Rays and much else besides.
A Serbian by birth, Tesla applied to work for Edison armed with a reference from his employer which read: “I know two great men and you are one of them; and the other is this young man.”
Unfortunately Tesla and Edison had a monumental fall out over money and the ac/dc debate resulting in mutual antipathy for the rest of their lives. Their feud is thought to have cost them each a Nobel Prize.
He moved to the USA in 1884 and became an American citizen. He was vice president of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers, the forerunner of the IEEE, and he was on the front cover of Time in 1931 for his 75th birthday
He was a poet, a philosopher, appreciative of good music, food and wine, a linguist, a card-player, proficient at billiards and chess, modest, refined, generous, good-looking and, allegedly, a life-long celibate.
Although he had a contract with Westinghouse which could have made him a billionaire, he walked away from it and died, penniless, in a New York hotel in 1943.