- 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
Best Known For
Thomas Edison - Inventor (4:13)
Inventor Nikola Tesla developed the alternating current electricity supply system. After working briefly with Thomas Edison, Tesla struck out on his own and became world-famous through his inventions.
The inventor of the light bulb, phonograph, and motion picture, Thomas Edison was granted 400 patents from 1879 to 1886. Though he changed technology forever, not all of his inventions were successful.
Inventor Thomas Edison, known during his time as "The Wizard of Menlo Park," developed numerous practical devices that changed the world such as the phonograph, the movie camera, and the light bulb.
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The system, however, never came to fruition; it failed due to financial constraints, and Tesla had no choice but to abandon the Long Island, New York laboratory that housed his work on the tower project, Wardenclyffe. In 1917, the Wardenclyffe site was sold, and Tesla's tower was destroyed.
"It's a sad, sad story," Larry Page, Google's co-founder,
said of Tesla in a 2008 interview with Forbes magazine. "[Tesla] couldn't commercialize anything. He could barely fund his own research."
In addition to his AC system, coil and tower project, throughout his career, Tesla discovered, designed and developed ideas for a number of important inventions—most of which were officially patented by other inventors—including dynamos (electrical generators similar to batteries) and the induction motor. He also a pioneer in the discovery of radar technology, X-ray technology and the rotating magnetic field—the basis of most AC machinery.
Poor and reclusive, Nikola Tesla died on January 7, 1943, at the age of 86, in New York City—where he had lived for nearly 60 years. His legacy, however, has been thriving for more than a century, and will undoubtedly live on for decades to come.
Several books and films have highlighted Tesla's life and famous works, including Nikola Tesla, The Genius Who Lit the World, a film created by the Tesla Memorial Society and the Nikola Tesla Museum in Belgrade, Serbia; and The Secret of Nikola Tesla, which stars Orson Welles as John Pierpont Morgan (J.P. Morgan). In recent years, a street sign entitled "Nikola Tesla Corner" was installed in honor of the famous inventor, near the 40th Street-6th Avenue intersection in New York City.
Over the past several years, several nonprofit organizations, high-profile individuals, municipalities and Tesla enthusiasts have been involved in a different kind of effort to uphold Tesla's legacy: A project to preserve Tesla's still-standing, still-abandoned New York laboratory, Wardenclyffe, and turn it into a museum of the famous inventor's work. For more than a decade, New York's Nikola Tesla Science Center has been working to gain momentum and, subsequently, funding for preserving Wardenclyffe. Since then, the lab's ownership has been passed through several hands, and public interest for the project has slowly but steadly been growing.
Interest escalated in February 2009, when the Wardenclyffe site was posted for sale, for nearly $1.6 million. Since then, the Tesla Science Center has continued to diligently work to raise funds for the lab's preservation. The state of New York recently acknowledged the center's efforts, awarding the center with a $850,000 grant (the center can't officially receive the grant until it raises matching funds).
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Everyday life is constantly changing and improving thanks to the ingenious ideas of famous inventors past and present. What once seemed impossible is now possible, such as Leonardo da Vinci’s forward-thinking concepts for flying machines (airplanes), Benjamin Franklin’s useful inventions like bifocals and the lightning rod, and Alexander Graham Bell’s revolutionary “talking machine” (telephone).
The modern era has also produced life-changing advancements whether in science, medicine, the arts, digital media. Music-makers can thank Les Paul for his amazing guitars, while Elon Musk launched the world's first commercial space ship, Steve Jobs' Apple products have made technology beautiful, and Sergey Brin and Larry Page's Google has changed how the world searches for information. These and so many other famous inventors and their creations changed the course of human history. See all inventors.
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