Nikola Tesla was born in 1856 and moved to the United States in 1884. Many people remember him for the struggle he waged with Thomas Edison. Among other things, they two disagreed on the current system residential wiring should carry. Nikola Tesla’s polyphase alternating current was superior to the direct current system that Edison continued to support.
He is equally well known for his interesting metaphysical and philosophical positions. In this respect, Tesla is almost larger than life. Some depictions even paint him as something of a brilliant mad scientist.
While many people claim Guglielmo Marconi discovered the principles of radio waves, Tesla’s work in this field was equally vital if not more so. He also invented fluorescent lamps, worked on new classes of steam turbines and his name is also associated with the induction motor. Many futurists immediately associate his name with the Tesla coil, an invention that has become almost legendary in some circles. In fact, he has become so synonymous with futuristic thinking that some people call him the inventor of the modern age.
Tesla’s personality is equally as mythical, and his powers of perception were remarkable. He lived the life of a shy hermit. In fact, he refused to show up when he was nominated for the 1912 Noble Prize. It was jointly offered to him and Thomas Edison. He reluctantly accepted an award from the American Institute of Electrical Engineers in 1917. In a weird twist of fate, that award was named the Edison Medal. He died in 1943, and at the time of his death he held over 700 individual patents. The SI unit for magnetic flux density is named in his honor.