Harnessing ElectricityBook - 2012
Chronicles the life and career of Nikola Tesla, world-reknowned inventor and engineer, and the legend behind alternating current.
Facts on File
As a scientist and businessman, Nikola Tesla saw his fortunes reverse as many times as his alternating current method of conducting electricity. Born in Croatia, Tesla found his way to America where he met fellow inventor Thomas A. Edison. However, the two brilliant men did not share similar methods of experimentation and soon parted ways. Tesla soon drew the attention of businessman George Westinghouse with his alternating current (AC), a method of delivering electricity more efficiently and over greater distances than Edison's direct current (DC). With Westinghouse's support, Tesla's method soon became dominant in the industry. Emboldened, Tesla set up a laboratory in Colorado, where his electricity experiments soon attracted attention both good and bad. Though this was where he built his famous Tesla coil, which turns a small amount of electricity into a great spark, Tesla also claimed here that he received messages from aliens in outer space, discrediting his legitimate advances. Again, Tesla's luck seemed to alternate on a positive course with backing from J.P. Morgan to build a station on Long Island to broadcast messages and information wirelessly to the world. However, the tower soon ran over budget, and Tesla's fortunes had fallen again. Today, Tesla's legacy is on the rise his insights and theories about wireless transmission and communication are hardly out of place in a world dominated by cell phones and Wi-Fi. Nikola Tesla outlines what biographers have discovered about Tesla and explores both his amazing achievements and his stunning failures.