Over time characters emerge that shake the reality that they had to live. Visionary men and women, often ahead of their time, who manage to capture in their mind realities that will occur in the near future. In this description many proper names would fit that surely everyone has imagined when reading these lines, but today we will highlight one in particular:Nicholas Tesla.
Tesla's technological innovation reminds us of other personalities advanced in their time, such asLeonardo and his mechanical inventions,Galileo Galilei and his theories on movement in the Renaissance context, orIsaac Newton and his studies on gravity.
His field of study focused on the analysis of electricity, specifically electromagnetism, focusing mainly on what is now known as alternating current.
To locate the tesla origin we must locate ourselves in the city of Smiljan, a Croatian town that in 1856 was part of the Austrian Empire. Nikola was born in that city on July 10 of the aforementioned year.
His elusive and mysterious personality, along with some elements of his biography - such as his overt confrontation with Edison - have led him to become a highly popular character. His figure is often mythologized in publications and novels related to science fiction or the steampunk movement.
We can firmly affirm that his fame is more remarkable now than in the context in which he lived, since the prism of time helps to contextualize your contributions with perspective.
Tesla had interesting friendships, such as the writerMark Twain, who claimed that his AC motor was the most remarkable invention since the appearance of the telephone.
If we analyze his life trajectory, we can mark a series of dates that directly influence his biography. The first is in 1870, when Tesla decided to leave his hometown to live in Budapest. In Prague he finished his studies between 1880 and 1881, without the support of his father, who constantly underestimated his advances.
In 1882 he settled in Paris to work in one of the companies owned by who would later become his «arch enemy«: Thomas Alva Edison.
In 1884 we found a momentous milestone: Nikola decided to leave Europe to settle in the United States. Thanks to a letter of recommendation, Tesla was hired at the factory Edison Machine Works, where he received personal congratulations from the eponymous inventor, as he improved many of the DC motors that Edison had invented.
His fame grew exponentially, which gave rise to what is popularly known as "The War of the Currents", which involved Tesla with Edison.Nikola was a supporter of alternating current, while Edison opted for direct current. This conflict led to both characters falling out.
Edison, for example, toured the United States electrocuting animals to prove that alternating current was deadly. Common sense eventually prevailed and Tesla's approach triumphed, but the contacts and friendships that Edison enjoyed caused the press to hide the triumph.
Nikola was a revolutionary person, visionary, he wanted to change the world without worrying about the economic benefits. This fact caused him to lose the power of many patents, and some of his commercial associations, such as the one started withGeorge Westinghouse in 1888, they were fatal.
However, in this period he invented highly transcendental objects, such as the Tesla coil, or starred in laudable events, such as the lighting of the Chicago International Exposition in 1893 thanks to alternating current.
In 1895 he established one of the first hydroelectric plants in the United States, specifically in theNiagara Falls, and throughout his life he interacted with some elements that would be transcendental in the near future such as X-rays, remote control or the Wardenclyffe Tower, he even imagined a weapon of total destruction known as "the ray of death".
These surreal events caricatured his figure and turned him into the archetype of the mad scientist, condemning him to oblivion. One of its latest failures was the attempt to send electrical energy wirelessly to the entire world, a proven fact but ignored by the society in its context.
Tesla ended up bankrupt and died only in 1943, his legacy, however, has been kept alive thanks to his unconditional followers, who even today claima capital figure for the history of science. To learn more about his figure, in Bukrid you have a highly recommended book about his life.
Cover image: Photo by Dickenson V. Alley / Wikipedia // CC BY-SA 4.0
Image text: Photo by Unknown(Author), Public domain