Re: Nikola Tesla

Dejan Vucinic (
Fri, 27 Sep 1996 10:24:02 -0500

>What really gets my goat is the total lack (as far as I could see),
>of acknowledgement to Nikolai Tesla, who conceived much of the
>idea. He was dismissed as a crackpot, then and now.

It's Nikola, not Nikolai, he was a Serbian from Lika (the name Nikolai
is seldom met in the Balkans), and he hasn't been dismissed as a
crackpot any more than your average neighbourhood genius. In fact,
if there is any single person "responsible" for the existence of
computers through butterfly effect, it would be him: his work on
three-phase alternating current distribution made mass distribution of
electricity to homes feasible at the time. Unlike T.A. Edison's light
bulb, a relatively miniscule fraction of the population knows anything
about it, yet its economical and social impact was several orders of
magnitude larger.

The "crackpot" part usually creeps into popular biographies, fueled
mostly by Tesla's pitiable social skills. A common compassion-inducer
in texts about him is that he "died alone in a hotel room." Millions
of people do every year. Not many can claim a hundredth of Tesla's
contribution to human knowledge. The unit strength of magnetic field
in the SI system of units is called Tesla in his honor.
He had a truly outstanding mind. He was also sending signals to
Martians. (Maybe he found out from a meteorite that landed in his back
yard? ;)