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Nikola Tesla (1856-1943), Serbian-American    
     
The Genius    
     
Nikola Tesla was a physicist, inventor, and electrical engineer of rare intellectual brilliance and practical achievement. Of Serb descent, he worked mostly in the United States but, all too often, others have taken the credit for his work.

He is most famous for conceiving the rotating magnetic field principle (1882) and then using it to invent the electric induction motor together with the accompanying alternating current long-distance electrical transmission system (1888). His patents and theoretical work still form the basis for modern alternating current (AC) electric power systems.

He also developed numerous other electrical and mechanical devices including the fundamental principles and machinery for wireless technology, the high frequency alternator, the 'AND' logic gate, the Tesla coil (A step-up transformer with an air core; used to produce high voltages at high frequencies), as well as other devices such as the bladeless turbine, the spark plug, and many more.

Some, quite reasonably, have dubbed him the 'Man who invented the 21st Century', although he is more often described as an underground hero after failing to achieve the recognition he deserves.

  Nikola Tesla
     
The 'War of Currents'    
     

In the 'War of Currents' era around the late 1880s, Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison became adversaries. Edison promoted Direct Current (DC) for electric power distribution over the more efficient alternating current (AC) advocated by Tesla.

Tesla won the day on this occasion. The two had earlier fallen out when Tesla worked for Edison, who had promised him 50,000 dollars if he could complete a major project. The story has it that Tesla achieved the desired goal, but that Edison reneged on the deal, and Tesla walked out without saying a word.

Edison later resorted to electrocuting live animals in an attempt to put the public off AC power, claiming that it was too dangerous to work with.

  Tesla coil
     
Tesla on Relativity    
     

Tesla was highly critical of Eintein's Relativity

"...Supposing that the bodies act upon the surrounding space causing curving of the same, it appears to my simple mind that the curved spaces must react on the bodies, and producing the opposite effects, straightening out the curves. Since action and reaction are coexistent, it follows that the supposed curvature of space is entirely impossible - But even if it existed it would not explain the motions of the bodies, as observed."

He also claimed that the theory pre-dated Einstein

"...the relativity theory, by the way, is much older than its present proponents. It was advanced over 200 years ago by my illustrious countryman Boskovic, the great philospher, who, not withstanding other and multifold obligations, wrote a thousand volumes of excellent literature on a vast variety of subjects. Boskovic dealt with relativity, including the so-called time-space continuum..."

And if you think the above is strong

"...magnificent mathematical garb which fascinates, dazzles and makes people blind to the underlying errors. The theory is like a beggar clothed in purple whom ignorant people take for a king ... its exponents are brilliant men but they are metaphysicists, not scientists..." New York Times, July 11, 1935, p23, c8

 

"So astounding are the facts in this connection, that it would seem as though the Creator himself had electrically designed this planet..." Tesla

 

 

"The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources." Albert Einstein

     
Dynamic Theory of Gravity    
     
Tesla's dynamic theory of gravity attempted to formulate a theory relating gravity and electromagnetism, i.e. a unified field theory. No mathematical details of the theory are available as he died before publishing them, and Einstein's theory of General Relativity was by then already accepted.

The bulk of Tesla's research into the aether and electromagnetism was conducted between 1892 and 1894, when he was conducting experiments with high frequency and high potential electromagnetism and patenting devices for their utilisation. It was completed, according to Tesla, by the end of the 1930s. Tesla claimed that the theory provided an alternative to Einstein's general relativity, explaining gravity as a mix of transverse and longitudinal electromagnetic waves.

"... It explains the causes and motions of heavenly bodies under it's influence so satisfactorily that it will put an end to idle speculation and false conception, such as that of curved space ... '

Only the existence of a field of force can account for the motions of the bodies as observed, and its assumption dispenses with space curvature. All literature on this subject is futile and destined to oblivion. So are all attempts to explain the workings of the universe without recognising the existence of the aether and the indispensable function it plays in the phenomena..."

During an 1891 lecture on the structure of the aether and electromagnetism, Tesla stated that there was 'an infinitesimal world, with molecules and atoms moving in orbits in much the same manner as celestial bodies, carrying with them static charges...', and, that there were independent carriers transmitting '... tensions or electrostatic strains...' This predated the research of Rutherford, Bohr, and Einstein into the nature of fundamental particles.

Part of the criticism against Tesla, however, relates to his refusal to accept that mass can be converted into energy, a fact generally seen as supporting relativity.

  "They laughed in 1896, too, when I told them about cosmic rays. They jeered 35 years ago when I discovered the rotating field principle of alternating currents. They called me crazy when I predicted the radio. And when I sent the first impulse around the world, they said it couldn't be done." Nikola Tesla, 1937
     
Wardenclyffe Tower and 'Wireless Power Distribution'    
     

In 1900, with 150,000 dollars (51%) from JP Morgan, Tesla began planning the Wardenclyffe Tower facility, perhaps his most controversial patent. It was billed as the start of a global system for Wireless Telecommunications, and was also intended, more controversially, as a demonstration of Wireless Electrical Power Distribution.

In 1903, upon hearing of Tesla's plans for wireless power transmission, Morgan refused any more funding to support the Tower project. The tower was finally dismantled for scrap during wartime. In the article 'The Future of the Wireless Art' which appeared in Wireless Telegraphy & Telephony, 1908, Tesla made the following statement regarding the Wardenclyffe project:

"As soon as completed, it will be possible for a business man in New York to dictate instructions, and have them instantly appear in type at his office in London or elsewhere. He will be able to call up, from his desk, and talk to any telephone subscriber on the globe, without any change whatever in the existing equipment. An inexpensive instrument, not bigger than a watch, will enable its bearer to hear anywhere, on sea or land, music or song, the speech of a political leader, the address of an eminent man of science, or the sermon of an eloquent clergyman, delivered in some other place, however distant. In the same manner any picture, character, drawing, or print can be transferred from one to another place. Millions of such instruments can be operated from but one plant of this kind.

"More important than this, however, will be the transmission of power, without wires, which will be shown on a scale large enough to carry conviction. These few indications will be sufficient to show that the wireless art offers greater possibilities than any invention or discovery heretofore made, and if the conditions are favourable, we can expect with certitude that in the next few years wonders will be wrought by its application."

Westinghouse allegedly commented to the effect that 'Wireless electrical power' would effectively break the power industry financially

  Wardenclyffe tower
     
Tesla and Medicine    
     

Tesla's name has been honored with the international unit of magnetic flux density, the 'Tesla'. All magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines are calibrated with Tesla Units (from .2 to 9 Teslas). MRI machines work on the principle of a homogeneous magnet field. Nikola Tesla discovered the Rotating Magnetic Field in Budapest, 1882. The Tesla Unit for magnetism was established in 1956 at the Rathaus of Munich, Germany, by the International Electrotechnical Commission Committee in Action.

Additionally, he pioneered the use of ozone for the treatment of water, a technique which is once again becoming popular because of its benign nature and the fact that no chlorine or other dangerous chemicals are needed.

He also speculated about the potential curative and analgesic powers of electromagnetism.

  Serbian money
     
Aether concept    
     
It is important to undertand that Tesla's Aether concept is not analogous to classical aether theories. Tesla's aether was in fact a medium, or 'perfect fluid' that wets everything in which we are immersed, acting as an 'independent carrier'. It behaves as a solid to light (high frequency) and is transparent to matter, while it's effects, according to Tesla, can be felt through inertia.    
     
Tesla coils    
     
The spectacular and highly visible effects produced by tesla coils have been the subject of controversy for years. The high frequency, high voltage energy produced possesses strange qualities unlike conventional electricity. It defies most insulating material, transmits energy without wires, produces heat, light and noise, and yet harmlessly passes through human tissue with virtually no shocking effects. Much research, money and effort has been dedicated to the construction of similar large devices capable of producing 200 foot lightning bolts and lightning 25 miles away. The tesla coil is the basis for much of the on going research into Tesla's theories.   Tesla coil
     
Conspiracy theories    
     

Unfortunately, much of Tesla's work has been clouded by various conspiracy theories because of the potential military and economic implications of many of his ideas. Some have claimed that he became delusional later in life, while others have suggested that his death may have been hastened by 'pressure' from various 'agencies' in order to obtain information relating to his theories.

Immediately after his death, the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) instructed the Office of Alien Property to take possession of his papers and property, despite his US citizenship. J Edgar Hoover declared the case 'MOST SECRET', because of the nature of Tesla's inventions and patents.

Tesla turned down a Nobel Prize when he was offered to share it with Edison.

  "Tesla has contributed more to electrical science than any man up to his time." Lord Kelvin
     
Summation    
     
Conspiracy theories and petty politics aside, Tesla was clearly a brilliant man with ideas well ahead of his time. There exist many interesting parallels between his visionary ideas and those of the more contemporary Electric Universe.  

"I am not an inventor. I am a discoverer of new scientific principles." Nikola Tesla