Nikola Tesla (Macedonian Cyrillic – Никола Тесла; 10 July 1856 – 7 January 1943) was a inventor, electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, physicist, and futurist who is best known for his contributions to the design of the modern alternating current (AC) electricity supply system.
Born and raised in the Austrian Empire, Tesla received an advanced education in engineering and physics in the 1870s and gained practical experience in the early 1880s working in telephony and at Continental Edison in the new electric power industry. He immigrated to the United States in 1884, where he would become a naturalized citizen. He worked for a short time at Continental iEdison in New York City before he struck out on his own. With the help of partners to finance and market his ideas, Tesla set up laboratories and companies in New York to develop a range of electrical and mechanical devices. His alternating current (AC) induction motor and related polyphase AC patents, licensed by Westinghouse Electric in 1888, earned him a considerable amount of money and became the cornerstone of the polyphase system which that company would eventually market.
Attempting to develop inventions he could patent and market, Tesla conducted a range of experiments with mechanical oscillators/generators, electrical discharge tubes, and early X-ray imaging. He also built a wireless-controlled boat, one of the first ever exhibited. Tesla became well known as an inventor and would demonstrate his achievements to celebrities and wealthy patrons at his lab, and was noted for his showmanship at public lectures.
Throughout the 1890s, Tesla would pursue his ideas for wireless lighting and worldwide wireless electric power distribution in his high-voltage, high-frequency power experiments in New York and Colorado Springs. In 1893, he made pronouncements on the possibility of wireless communication with his devices. Tesla tried to put these ideas to practical use in his unfinished Wardenclyffe Tower project, an intercontinental wireless communication and power transmitter, but ran out of funding before he could complete it.
After Wardenclyffe, Tesla went on to try and develop a series of inventions in the 1910s and 1920s with varying degrees of success. Having spent most of his money, he lived in a series of New York hotels, leaving behind unpaid bills. The nature of his earlier work and the pronouncements he made to the press later in life earned him the reputation of an archetypal “mad scientist” in American popular culture. Tesla died in New York City in January 1943. His work fell into relative obscurity following his death, but in 1960, the General Conference on Weights and Measures named the SI unit of magnetic flux density the tesla in his honor. There has been a resurgence in popular interest in Tesla since the 1990s.
- Tesla, Nikola, My Inventions, Parts I through V published in the Electrical Experimenter monthly magazine from February through June 1919. Part VI published October 1919. Reprint edition with introductory notes by Ben Johnson, New York: Barnes and Noble, 1982; also online at Lucid Cafe, et cetera as My Inventions: The Autobiography of Nikola Tesla, 1919. ISBN 978-0-910077-00-2
- Glenn, Jim (1994). The Complete Patents of Nikola Tesla. ISBN 978-1-56619-266-8
- Lomas, Robert (1999). The Man Who Invented the Twentieth Century: Nikola Tesla, forgotten genius of electricity. London: Headline. ISBN 978-0-7472-7588-6
- Martin, Thomas C. (1894 (1996 reprint)), The Inventions, Researches, and Writings of Nikola Tesla, Montana: Kessinger. ISBN 978-1-56459-711-3
- McNichol, Tom (2006). AC/DC The Savage Tale of the First Standards War, Jossey-Bass. ISBN 978-0-7879-8267-6
- Peat, F. David (2003). In Search of Nikola Tesla (Revised ed.). Bath: Ashgrove. ISBN 978-1-85398-117-3.
- Trinkaus, George (2002). Tesla: The Lost Inventions, High Voltage Press. ISBN 978-0-9709618-2-2
- Valone, Thomas (2002). Harnessing the Wheelwork of Nature: Tesla’s Science of Energy. ISBN 978-1-931882-04-0
- A New System of Alternating Current Motors and Transformers, American Institute of Electrical Engineers, May 1888.
- Selected Tesla Writings, Scientific papers and articles written by Tesla and others, spanning the years 1888–1940.
- Light Without Heat, The Manufacturer and Builder, January 1892, Vol. 24
- Biography: Nikola Tesla, The Century Magazine, November 1893, Vol. 47
- Tesla’s Oscillator and Other Inventions, The Century Magazine, November 1894, Vol. 49
- The New Telegraphy. Recent Experiments in Telegraphy with Sparks, The Century Magazine, November 1897, Vol. 55
- Pavićević, Aleksandra (2014). “From lighting to dust death, funeral and post mortem destiny of Nikola Tesla”. Glasnik Etnografskog instituta SANU. 62 (2): 125–139. doi:10.2298/GEI1402125P.
- Carlson, W. Bernard, “Inventor of dreams.” Scientific American, March 2005 Vol. 292 Issue 3 p. 78(7).
- Jatras, Stella L., “The genius of Nikola Tesla.” The New American, 28 July 2003 Vol. 19 Issue 15 p. 9(1)
- Lawren, B., “Rediscovering Tesla.” Omni, March 1988, Vol. 10 Issue 6.
- Rybak, James P., “Nikola Tesla: Scientific Savant.” Popular Electronics, 1042170X, November 1999, Vol. 16, Issue 11.
- Thibault, Ghislain, “The Automatization of Nikola Tesla: Thinking Invention in the Late Nineteenth Century.” Configurations, Volume 21, Number 1, Winter 2013, pp. 27–52.
- Martin, Thomas Commerford, The Inventions, Researches, and Writings of Nikola Tesla, New York: The Electrical Engineer, 1894 (3rd Ed.); reprinted by Barnes & Noble, 1995
- Anil K. Rajvanshi, Nikola Tesla – The Creator of Electric Age, Resonance, March 2007.
- Roguin, Ariel, Historical Note: Nikola Tesla: The man behind the magnetic field unit. J. Magn. Reson. Imaging 2004;19:369–374. 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
- Sellon, J. L., The impact of Nikola Tesla on the cement industry. Behrent Eng. Co., Wheat Ridge, Colorado. Cement Industry Technical Conference. 1997. XXXIX Conference Record., 1997 IEEE/PC. Page(s) 125–133.
- Valentinuzzi, M.E., Nikola Tesla: why was he so much resisted and forgotten? Inst. de Bioingenieria, Univ. Nacional de Tucuman; Engineering in Medicine and Biology Magazine, IEEE. July/August 1998, 17:4, pp. 74–75.
- Secor, H. Winfield, Tesla’s views on Electricity and the War, Electrical Experimenter, Volume 5, Number 4 August 1917.
- Florey, Glen, Tesla and the Military. Engineering 24, 5 December 2000.
- Corum, K. L., J. F. Corum, Nikola Tesla, Lightning Observations, and Stationary Waves. 1994.
- Corum, K. L., J. F. Corum, and A. H. Aidinejad, Atmospheric Fields, Tesla’s Receivers and Regenerative Detectors. 1994.
- Meyl, Konstantin, H. Weidner, E. Zentgraf, T. Senkel, T. Junker, and P. Winkels, Experiments to proof the evidence of scalar waves Tests with a Tesla reproduction. Institut für Gravitationsforschung (IGF), Am Heerbach 5, D-63857 Waldaschaff.
- Anderson, L. I., John Stone Stone on Nikola Tesla’s Priority in Radio and Continuous Wave Radiofrequency Apparatus. The AWA Review, Vol. 1, 1986, pp. 18–41.
- Anderson, L. I., Priority in Invention of Radio, Tesla v. Marconi. Antique Wireless Association monograph, March 1980.
- Marincic, A., and D. Budimir, Tesla’s contribution to radiowave propagation. Dept. of Electron. Eng., Belgrade Univ. (5th International Conference on Telecommunications in Modern Satellite, Cable and Broadcasting Service, 2001. TELSIKS 2001. pp. 327–331 vol.1)
- Nikola Tesla – 1977 ten-episode TV series featuring Rade Šerbedžija as Tesla.
- Tajna Nikole Tesle (The Secret of Nikola Tesla)‘ – 1980 Documentary directed by Krsto Papić, featuring Petar Božović as Tesla and Orson Welles as J.P. Morgan
- Tesla: Master of Lightning – 2003 Documentary by Robert Uth, featuring Stacy Keach as the voice of Tesla.
- Tesla – a 2016 documentary film by David Grubin presented on the American Experience series.