Nikola Tesla is widely known for his great achievements in the field of physics. Once he turned upside down the people's ideas on the questions of commuted current and electricity, making a big step forward in the study of these phenomena. Much of his activity was beyond explanation, what as caused many myths around his personality, and I will try my best to convey the main objectives and achievements of his works in my paper.
Nikola Tesla was born on July 10, 1856, in the village of Smiljan (Croatia today) in the family of Serbian Greek Church priest (Childress, 1993, p. 8). Tesla was the fourth child, and it seemed that he was destined to live his whole life in the village far from developments of new industrial era. However, his fate decided otherwise.
Tesla gained profound classical education, spoke in several languages, graduated from the Polytechnic School in Gratz (1878) and the University of Paris (1880) (Childress, 1993, p. 8). His first position was the employee at the telegraph office in Budapest. His first theoretical exploration was in February 1882 when Tesla discovered the phenomenon to be used in an engine, later discovered in the world of Physics as the rotating magnetic field (Childress, 1993, p. 9). In 1882, Tesla went to Paris.
In Paris Thomas Edison noticed young perspective developer and Tesla was offered to go to New York to work for Edison, where he moved in 1884. There, In New York he immediately understood the US to be the country of great opportunities.
However, Edison in a remote manner perceived outstanding ideas of Tesla and often expressed harsh disapproval of ideas of the young inventor. In spring of 1885, Edison promised Tesla 50 thousand dollars if he managed to constructively improve the electrical DC machine, invented by Edison. When Nikola introduced 24 improved varieties of machines, Edison did not pay a dime to Tesla standing on the grounds that the promised salary was just one of jokes so widely used among Americans (Cheney, 2001, p. 57). Because of that, Tesla terminated his cooperation with Edison and lasting enmity between two scientists emerged.
Starting from the autumn of 1886 to the spring of 1887 the young inventor was forced to make his ends meet toiling at temporary working places as a laborer. During that period, he became acquainted with engineer Brown who was in the same shoes as Tesla trying to keep body and soul together. Mr. Brown was the one who managed to persuade some of his friends to provide little financial support to Tesla (Cheney, 2001, p. 60). In April 1887 with the money given Tesla established Tesla Electric Company, office of which was on the Fifth Avenue in New York, and was engaged in installing lighting arc lamp on streets. Soon the company`s viability was proved with big orders from many U.S. cities. Specifically at that time, the “War of Currents” between Edison and Tesla companies began.
Since 1888, financial conditions of Tesla improved considerably thanks to the sale of many patents that enabled Tesla concentrate exclusively on his scientific approaches. In the years 1888-1895, Tesla was actively researching magnetic fields and high frequencies in his laboratory. These years were the most fruitful: he received many patents. American Institute of Electrical Engineers invited Tesla to give lectures about his work.
However, he did not stay for long there, and in May 1899 at the invitation of the local electric company Tesla moved to Colorado Springs resort town in Colorado, where he set up a small laboratory. To study thunderstorms Tesla constructed a special transformer, the device that allowed Nikola Tesla to study changes in the Earth's capacity, including the effect of the standing electromagnetic waves caused by lightning in the atmosphere (only in more than five decades, this effect was studied in detail and later became known as the "Schumann Resonance") (Cheney, 2001, p. 177). Observations of Tesla induced inventor to the idea of power transmission without wires over long distances.
In the autumn of 1899, Tesla returned to New York. There, 60 km north of New York City on Long Island he bought a land area located at a considerable distance from the settlements (Cheney, 2001, p. 200). There he planned to build a laboratory and scientific community to study the wireless transmission of electricity. Despite the great scientific value of such exploration, he failed to complete the construction of the laboratory because all financial sponsors refused to pay seeing no profit in such researches.
After 1900, Tesla received numerous other patents for his inventions in various fields of technology (electric meter, frequency counter, a number of improvements in radio equipment, steam turbines, etc.). The inventor was a witness of two World Wars, which he desperately observed from the USA and ardently appealed to the humanity emphasizing the necessity of living in peace. In the course of First World War, he proposed the principle of operation of the device for radio detection of submarines (Cheney, 2001, p. 259). This principle was further brought to life affecting military actions all over the world. Nicola Tesla died of heart failure on the night of 7 to 8 January 1943.
That was the short outline of the life of the greatest, in my opinion, scientist of humanity, the scientist who wanted to give the world more, but the world could not accept the generous gifts of the greatest explorer and inventor – Nikola Tesla.
Childress, H. David. (1993). The Fantastic Inventions of Nikola Tesla [PDF document]. Retrieved from http://exopoliticshongkong.com/uploads/Nikola_Tesla_-_The_Fantastic_Inventions_of_Nikola_Tesla.pdf
Cheney, Margaret. (2001). Tesla: Man out of Time. New York, NY: Touchstone.