Ascent 111 – Researching Tesla

TeslaI’ve been hearing the name of Nikola Tesla more & more recently and was intrigued to learn more. I’ve been a science buff since I was a child and love the world of physics. I’ve long admired great inventors like Edison & Bell, and the physicists like Newton, Galileo, and such.

This is why I was curious about Tesla – I didn’t know anything about him and only started hearing the name in recent years.

This evening I googled his name and read a few biographic articles about his life and work. The more I read, the more curious why he didn’t seem to be a household name. He developed the alternating current (AC) system that is the dominant electric supply modality. He invented components (Tesla coil) that is still used in radios to this day.

He was clearly brilliant, working alongside Edison & others, and launching ventures that were rapidly funded. He didn’t seem to have much acumen in the business arena and was actually forced out of one of the ventures he launched!

He was a prolific inventor, creating many other inventions that are still in use today. He had a fall from grace when investors lost faith in his massive project to build a global wireless communication system. As his rivals Marconi and Edison were well funded and making great progress in the arena, Tesla’s investors pulled out and Tesla had to abandon his masterpiece. In 1917, he filed bankruptcy and, after a nervous breakdown returned to work as a consultant.

As time went on, his ideas became more outlandish & impractical and he became increasingly eccentric. Nikola Tesla died, poor and reclusive in New York City in 1943, aged 86.

His legacy remains and it’s fitting that this great man is starting to be recognized for his contributions to modern society.

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