Tesla – A Man that was Truly Forgotten

I remember during my days of Honors Physics back in high school, when my teacher brought in a Tesla Coil to class.  Not only was it really cool looking, I was immediately scared.  Looking back at it, I was scared of the Tesla Coil for the exact same reasons why neighbors to Tesla himself called authorities:  they just did not understand what was going on.  And well, my initial impression about this man was the typical impression that most people take when learning about him, specifically the Tesla Coil, that he was a mad scientist trying to create Frankenstein.  And the years of my life past, with me completely ignorant on how much our society depends on the very ideas and patents that this man created.  How many patents were credited to Tesla?  It was stated in the most recent documentary that I just saw that over two hundred patents were in his name at the time of his death.

In fact, when he died, The United States Government rushed into his home (he did not have much family) and ransacked his place to obtain his papers.  They were afraid (especially considering the events of World War II) that if these ideas got into the hands of the enemy, it would be disastrous.  Therefore, these documents were considered a matter of national security.  I am not very sure if there are many men out there, that had their writings confiscated by governmental agents for the sheer fear that these ideas produced.

Tesla invented devices that are necessary for our modern world to exist the way it does.  For example, Tesla patented the first electric motor.  Electric motors are found everywhere, from inside commercial jet turbines to inside power tools.  An electric motor works by capitalizing on the relationship of current and magnetic fields.  Electric current and magnetic fields are intricately inner-woven.  Meaning, that not only does an electric current create a magnetic field, but a magnetic field creates electric current as well.  A basic electric motor has an electromagnet with opposite polls in close approximation to what is termed “the coil.”  The coil also has opposing magnetic fields.  (This is accomplished by wrapping the electrical wires in opposite directions i.e. clockwise v.s. counter-clockwise.)  When current is fed into the overall system, the coil attracts as well as repels the electromagnet, resulting in a never ending cycle of rotational work presuming current can be steadily added to the system.  Not only was this ingenious, but it was beautiful in its simplicity.

As Thomas Edison was advocating for direct current, Tesla found an alternative that would greatly reduce overall cost and waste by what he called alternating current.  Direct current is quite a simple way to go about things.  Current is steadily pushed through the wire (resulting in large amounts of resistance and lost heat) till the current reaches its work destination, whereby it returns.  Alternating current is able to reduce resistance (thus lost energy) by pulsating the current through the wire at a certain frequency.  One explanation that I have heard, is that the electrons traveling through the wire also conform to the laws of motion, more specifically, inertia.  When pulsating very rapidly, there is also a delay between the absence of current and magnetic field, however very miniscule.  The pulsating in concordance with residual fields essentially pushes the electrons along the wire.  This substantially reduces the amount of heat loss throughout the wire.

Now, Thomas Edison’s ideas on direct current are still very substantial.  Even though he was pushing for his ideas to take precedence (as it would bring him more capital) in regards to a large power network, alternating current made more sense.  However, with hand held and home based electronics, it has been found that direct current is more practical.  Without either of these forefathers of electricity, our modern world would be vastly different.

But Tesla was a visionary and futurist that was centuries ahead of his time.  He was trying to find investors to invest into more of his lavish and “crazy” ideas.  Tesla theorized that it would be possible to transmit power wirelessly.  And, considering that “power” is part of the electromagnetic spectrum, it would be possible to break up that power into multiple frequencies, allowing people to share video, music, and text.  That’s right, he invisioned not only a wireless power network, but a wireless communication network on a global scale (The Internet).  What is exceptionally beautiful, is that these networks would be under one roof so to speak.  Essentially his vision of a house, would be to have a large power station (Tesla Coil) in close proximity to the building.  Then, the coil would broadcast power and information into the building.  So when someone came home from work, all of their wireless devices would instantly start recharging automatically, and televisions would not have a cable plugging into an outlet in the wall.

If one were to add the fact that he was the father of tidal energy, it became very apparent that he invisioned this at the very beginning.  Create sources of energy that uses potential and kinetic energy of the earth, send it using alternating current to a building, whereby a coil would broadcast the current in multiple frequencies resulting in not only wireless power, but wireless data.  Beautiful.

When analyzing the contexts of the era that he lived in, the overall picture was viewed as insane and crazy.  His investors quickly stopped their funding for Tesla’s ideas, where Tesla never stopped.  There have been rumors reported in texts that Tesla succeeded in creating a machine that could induce an earthquake!  Stories were told of authorities barging into his lab and Tesla was found destroying a device because he could not shut it down.  Once the device was destroyed, the earthquake quickly subsided.

I hope from the bottom of my heart, that this man is never forgotten.  If we are able to combine his ideas with the advancement of renewable energies, this world would be such a beautiful place.  Not only would buildings be able to broadcast power and information, but the current required for the broadcast could be supplied by renewable energies, ranging from photovoltaic cells to geothermal technologies.  But, it seems the profitable corporations do not want this change to take place, because well, they are enjoying their profits.  It is also increasingly more difficult for an entrepreneur to compete with such giants.  For one, these giants could buy the intellectual property rights.  And if that does not succeed, there are many options in the reality of corporate espionage.  When working at a datacenter, I saw a company DDoSed out of business, and it was speculated the organization responsible for the DDoS was one of their competitors.

Thank you Tesla.  For not only providing the foundations to create this modern world, but an overall plan for humanity to pursue.  Thank you.


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