By Karen Pereczes
As appeared in Aquila magazine. Copyright Karen Pereczes 2005.
"One day, man will connect his apparatus to the very wheel work of the universe...
and the very forces that motivate the planets in their orbits and cause them to rotate
will operate his own machinery."
Tesla was born in Yugoslavia 1856. He was called a madman by some... a genius by
others, but is perhaps the greatest inventor the world has ever known. We still
use many of his inventions every day, yet most people have never heard of him!
This is why some people say he is the 'forgotten father of technology'.
introduced the world to the basics of robotics, computers, missile science,
satellites, microwaves, remote control, solar power and mains electricity. Tesla
also worked with radio-frequency electromagnetic waves and invented the radio.
1896 he made his famous Tesla Coil, called the 'Magnifying Transmitter', which
was so big it filled an entire barn! The huge coil sent waves of electricity
rippling all around the world and back to his Tesla Coil, where they made 65
foot long lightening bolts at 12 million volts and crashes of lightening at 75
thousand horsepower... that's enough electricity to power about 10 thousand
homes! The thundering roar that accompanied these experiments could be heard ten
these experiments, Tesla made the discovery of alternating electricity, which we
use today in our homes and workplaces all over the world. Alternating
electricity is when two wires change from positive to negative - alternating
from one to the other. Our mains electricity today alternates at 50 times per
second. If you listen closely, you can sometimes hear this as a hummmmm from
many household appliances.
work resulted in the first neon and fluorescent lights ever made. He discovered
that he could make a lamp light up with no wires attached to it by using high
frequency electricity that would pass through air. This would eventually be
known as radio transmission. Tesla believed that all of the electricity we use
could arrive at our homes without any wires.
invented a model boat that he controlled from a distance by using radio signals
(remote control), sending it zipping around the water. Many people were amazed
by this and thought that the boat had a brain of its own or that somehow Tesla
was controlling it with his mind. 'It created a sensation such as no other
invention of mine has ever produced,' Tesla would later write. He called the
object a 'Teleautomaton' and thought of it as the first of many robots that
would serve mankind.
also invented something he called 'Visual Telegraphy'. This was a telephone
with pictures - so you could see your friends as well as talk to them! Imagine
this in the days of cowboys and Indians, over 100 years ago - WOW!
discovered that the Earth could be used as a conductor of electrical vibrations
of a certain frequency, which he used to send signals into space. He also
received radio signals from space, which were only discovered in 1967 (24 years
after Tesla’s death) to be the Pulsar - a special kind of pulsating star.
more information about Tesla and other wacky science facts, check out the