Nikola Tesla was born 162 years ago today in Smiljan, Croatia. Known as a pioneer of radio, the father of alternating current, and the archetypal “mad scientist” he was awarded at least 278 patents. A lifelong eccentric, he never married nor had any romantic relationships, though he’s rumored to have been infatuated with a pigeon. Some of his ideas were as offbeat as he was. He proposed free power, transmitted wirelessly, and conceived a “death ray” that he believed would dissuade nations from going to war by making the prospects too horrible. (Personally, I doubt that.) Another well-known aspect of Tesla’s life was his feud with Thomas Edison over which was better, alternating current or direct current. Ironically, he received the Edison Medal from the American Institute of Electrical Engineers in 1916. Tesla has become a cult figure in recent years and has appeared as a character in numerous fictional works including The Prestige by Christopher Priest (also a movie by Christopher Nolan), Goliath by Scott Westerfield, Wonder of the Worlds by Sesh Heri, and Fidelio’s Automata by yours truly.
Check out Tesla’s steampunk adventures in Colorado in Fidelio’s Automata.
Background info from Wikipedia/Infogalactic.
Image: photographer unknown, dowloaded from https://historyrat.wordpress.com/2013/01/13/lighting-the-1893-worlds-fair-the-race-to-light-the-world/, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3139472