Nikola Tesla: The Forgotten Father of Technology

Essay by jpeivpCollege, UndergraduateA+, October 2004

download word file, 7 pages 3.5

Downloaded 55 times

Throughout history only a small group of people were able to affect the lives of most of the world's population. In terms of science and technology, one person can have a tremendous impact on mankind; specifically that one person was Nikola Tesla. The eccentric and brilliant Croatian born electrical engineer contributed profoundly to our understanding of magnetism and electricity. He is known for his creation of the first alternating current (AC) induction motor, based on his research and discovery of rotating magnetic fields. Nikola Tesla had 700 patents in the US and Europe. Tesla's discoveries include the Tesla Coil, fluorescent light, wireless electrical energy, radio, remote control, and the discovery of cosmic radio waves (Feldman 224).

Born in Smiljan, Yugoslavia, he was the son of an Orthodox priest and an illiterate mother. Both he and his elder brother Dane were said to possess photographic memories, to a degree where Tesla needed occasional help from his sisters in determining what was real and what was imaginary.

He had episodes of light flashes disturbing his thoughts, due to his photographic memory (Vujovic 3-4). Whatever burden these episodes compelled, it's clear that Tesla's phenomenal memory served him well in both engineering and social settings (he spoke several languages fluently).

He attended the Technical University at Graz, Austria, and then the University of Prague. At Graz he saw his first dynamo-electric machine, which operated as a generator and when reversed became an electric motor. Through his observations of this machine he conceived a way to use alternating current to his advantage. Later, at Budapest, he visualized the principle of the rotating magnetic field and developed plans for an induction motor that would become his first step towards the successful utilization of alternating current (Hunt 31-33).

In 1882 Tesla went to work in Paris for...