Last January was the 73rd year of the death of the great scientist Nikola Tesla. On January 7th, 1943, this Serbian-American scientist lost his life. He was regarded as the founder of the present electrical and power technologies, grid lines and AC electricity, and it is now the time to take a look at the back and remind some of the great innovations and achievements of this great scientist that were decades ahead of his time. Interestingly, many of Tesla’s innovations were not accepted or even understood at his time, and it took many years for them to pave their way into the scientific community as well as the modern industry.
Tesla – the Founder of the Alternating Current
Every college student learns that the unit of magnetic field induction is “tesla”, the name that was made as a tribute to Nikola Tesla who spent all of his life for the development of many modern technologies that changed the world, in particular, the alternating current or, in brief, AC current.
Today, everyone knows that the alternating current is the basis of the electric power, power gridlines, transmission and distribution systems, etc. without which our present life could not be possible. But, many have rarely heard that this issue has been the subject of a fierce battle between Thomas Edison who was a firm advocate of the direct current (DC current) and Tesla who was for alternating current.
In the 1880s, Tesla worked with Edison for a short time; however, he quit a while later and the battle of currents started, the battle where Tesla was the final winner. His offer was proved to be the best choice for a safer, more reliable and less expensive solution for the transfer of power to remote areas. It didn’t take too much of time before the network of AC power systems like generators, turbines, transmission lines, etc., spread all over the world changing the human life.
With all of its profound impact on our daily life, AC current was not the only invention of Tesla, his innovations covered a wide range of areas like the radio, fluorescent light, electric motors and a long list of about 300 registered patents.
Tesla’s innovations were well ahead of his time and it was not until recent years that his futuristic views and innovations on many modern technologies were understood. His ideas were repelled at his time but now are widely used in many applications. Mentioning some of his untold innovations clarifies his reality and talented mind.
Wireless transfer of power: this idea was one newly of his many ideas and at his time was rejected. But now, 70 years after his death, it is a new technology that is currently used in such applications as wireless charging of batteries or batteries of electric vehicles or buses.
Thought camera: this idea was first announced by Tesla in 1883 with the aim of making a device for photographing the human mind. He suggested that any thought in the human brain forms an image in the retina that can be photographed by a proper device. He never succeeded to bring his theory into the reality, but today scientists have managed to invent an artificial retina using a complicated mathematical algorithm based on which eye’s retina can convert images into electrical signals that are sent to the brain for other processes.
Electric Motors: Tesla’s comprehensive and diligent efforts on magnetic fields and their effects on electric current finally led him to the invention of electric motors in 1930. Electric motors are now an indispensable part of every industry without which there is literally no production or even no industry.
Hydroelectric power plant: In 1880, Tesla managed to design the first hydroelectric power plant. His design was immediately developed and implemented in the Niagara Falls to provide Buffalo with electric power.
These few inventions, not to speak of many others, show how Tesla’s innovations changed the face of the world and served human beings for a better life. He was always a low profile inventor and liked to be so.
Interestingly, many inventions like the telephone or X-rays that were claimed to have been made by others at the time were based on the ideas first studied by Tesla, yet this was not a major issue for him. Referring to these cases, he once stated that “I don’t care that they stole my idea …, I care that they don’t have any of their own.”
- 8 Things You Didn’t Know About Nikola Tesla