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Nikola Tesla, man out of time
Tesla main page
NIKOLA TESLA - Man out of time
Tesla's contributions to the modern world are widely regarded as much more important and long-lasting than those of his nemesis, one-time employer, Thomas Edison. Encyclopedia Britannica lists Nikola Tesla as one of the top ten most fascinating people in history. Life magazine, in a special double issue, listed Tesla in the "100 Most Important People in the Last 1000 Years". But, it is surprising how little information can be found in literary about the work of the famous experimenter Nikola TESLA. One of the greatest minds of the 19th and 20th centuries, responsible for today’s modern world, Nikola Tesla is still virtually unknown to today’s textbooks, teachers, and general public. In the contrary his antagonist Thomas EDISON, which mainly promoted the direct current systems, is mentioned where ever one looks. References to Tesla work and accomplishments were systematically purged from the scientific literature and textbooks. 
Tesla with his inventions
Thomas Alva Edison
Nikola Tesla
Thomas Alva Edison
The all-around nice guy Thomas Edison was one of the reasons for that. Tesla and Edison became adversaries because Tesla AC system threatened directly Edison’s DC Empire and the work, patents and profits of Thomas Edison. Mr. Edison, inventor and wealthy businessman, did his best to discredit Tesla at every possible opportunity.  

What was the biggest difference between Tesla and Edison, besides Tesla had a higher goal – helping humanity?  Edison wanted to help humanity but make a fortune too. In general, Edison was able to take the ideas of others and construct the first practical machines.  Edison also liked to work with many workers. He knew how to bring his inventions to market. Edison's true success was in his ability to maximize profits through his patents.  

Tesla, on the other hand, was more of a planter of seeds. He let others raise the crops. From Tesla’s point of view, he said that he was a creator of new principles. Due to this reason, a number of Tesla notable inventions are often wrongly credited to others.

Tesla’s lectures in 1890’s (Chicago, London, Paris…) was such a success, that these lectures were attended, among others,  by all of the great scientists of the day such as Ernst Rutherford (father of nuclear physics), JJ Thompson (Nobel prize for discovery of the electron), Lord Kelvin, Sir William Crookes (Crookes tubes), Fleming & Preece (who would later both work for Marconi), Robert Millikan (a later-day Nobel prizewinner for his work on cosmic rays), and in France, d’Arsenoval who “invented” electrotherapeutic machines, of course based on Tesla’s work.  

At these lectures, Tesla laid out all of the major principles to the radio and even the precursor to such devices as the TV tube and fax machine. Tesla displayed wireless cold lamps, which was the invention of fluorescent, plasma and neon lights as well as the principle of selective tuning, that is, how to create separate channels on the radio. The Italian Guglielmo Marconi took the credit for invention of radio (Nobel Prize in 1909) although much of Marconi’s work was based on Nikola Tesla patents.    

Tesla wrote to J.J. Thomson in 1891 saying his experiments prove the existence of charged particles ("small charged balls"), later called electrons. Thomson was awarded the 1906 Nobel Prize in Physics for the discovery of the electron.

Tesla also speculated that the atom may be set up like a solar system.  In 1911, Rutherford (Nobel Prize winner) postulated basically the same - planetary model of the atom with all the protons in the nucleus and the electrons orbiting around the nucleus like planets around the sun.  

In April 1887, Nikola Tesla began to investigate X-rays using high voltages and tubes of his own design. He performed several experiments prior to Roentgen's discovery including photographing the bones of his hand. In 1901 Röntgen was awarded the very first Nobel Prize in Physics for his study of x-rays. And so on, and so on, and so on…  

Unlike Edison, Tesla was an original thinker whose ideas typically had no precedent in science. Tesla was far ahead of the theoretical knowledge of that time with his experimental practices. He has executed so many experiments, which has not been repeated in all its details until these days. Therefore a communication with the established science was not always easy for him. In spite of that, he was known and respected in academic circles world wide, corresponding with eminent physicists of his day, including Albert Einstein.  

Unfortunately, the world does not financially reward people of Tesla’s originality. We only award those that take their concepts and turn them into a new product.  What was his reward for a lifetime of creativity? The Edison Medal! A real slap in the face after all the verbal abuse Tesla took from Edison.  

Unquestionably society would be much further advanced today if 100 hundred years ago, philanthropists would have stood behind and supported Tesla. Every human being in this world would have benefited had Tesla's seeds been adequately watered, nurtured, cherished and harvested.   But it's all about money. Business. Thomas Edison understood this. He's in the history books. Marconi understood this. He's in the history books. 

Tesla didn't understand this. Tesla, the iconic genius, was left out of the many history books. He should have been a billionaire, but the man who invented the modern world died essentially penniless on January 7th, 1943, at the age of 87.
Nikola Tesla - old
Nicola Tesla lived the last 10 years of his life in poverty, in room 3327 on the 33rd floor of the Hotel New Yorker in Manhattan, with a flock of pigeons - whom he considered his only friends.
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