Nikola Tesla was a physicist,
inventor, and electrical engineer of rare intellectual
brilliance and practical achievement. Of Serb descent,
he worked mostly in the United States but, all too often,
others have taken the credit for his work.
He is most famous for conceiving the rotating magnetic
field principle (1882) and then using it to invent the
electric induction motor together with the accompanying
alternating current long-distance electrical transmission
system (1888). His patents and theoretical work still
form the basis for modern alternating current (AC) electric
He also developed numerous other electrical and mechanical
devices including the fundamental principles and machinery
for wireless technology, the high frequency alternator,
the 'AND' logic gate, the Tesla coil (A step-up transformer
with an air core; used to produce high voltages at high
frequencies), as well as other devices such as the bladeless
turbine, the spark plug, and many more.
Some, quite reasonably, have dubbed him the 'Man who
invented the 21st Century', although he is more often
described as an underground hero after failing to achieve
the recognition he deserves.
The 'War of Currents'
In the 'War of Currents' era around the late 1880s,
Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison became adversaries. Edison
promoted Direct Current (DC) for electric power distribution
over the more efficient alternating current (AC) advocated
Tesla won the day on this occasion. The two had earlier
fallen out when Tesla worked for Edison, who had promised
him 50,000 dollars if he could complete a major project.
The story has it that Tesla achieved the desired goal,
but that Edison reneged on the deal, and Tesla walked
out without saying a word.
Edison later resorted to electrocuting live animals
in an attempt to put the public off AC power, claiming
that it was too dangerous to work with.
Tesla on Relativity
Tesla was highly critical of Eintein's
"...Supposing that the bodies act
upon the surrounding space causing curving of the same,
it appears to my simple mind that the curved spaces
must react on the bodies, and producing the opposite
effects, straightening out the curves. Since action
and reaction are coexistent, it follows that the supposed
curvature of space is entirely impossible - But even
if it existed it would not explain the motions of the
bodies, as observed."
He also claimed that the theory pre-dated
"...the relativity theory, by the
way, is much older than its present proponents. It was
advanced over 200 years ago by my illustrious countryman
Boskovic, the great philospher, who, not withstanding
other and multifold obligations, wrote a thousand volumes
of excellent literature on a vast variety of subjects.
Boskovic dealt with relativity, including the so-called
And if you think the above is strong
mathematical garb which fascinates, dazzles and makes
people blind to the underlying errors. The theory is
like a beggar clothed in purple whom ignorant people
take for a king ... its exponents are brilliant men
but they are metaphysicists, not scientists..."
New York Times, July 11, 1935, p23, c8
"So astounding are the facts in this connection,
that it would seem as though the Creator himself had
electrically designed this planet..." Tesla
"The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide
your sources." Albert Einstein
Dynamic Theory of Gravity
Tesla's dynamic theory
of gravity attempted to formulate a theory relating gravity
and electromagnetism, i.e. a unified field theory. No
mathematical details of the theory are available as he
died before publishing them, and Einstein's theory of
General Relativity was by then already accepted.
The bulk of Tesla's research into the
aether and electromagnetism was conducted between 1892
and 1894, when he was conducting experiments with high
frequency and high potential electromagnetism and patenting
devices for their utilisation. It was completed, according
to Tesla, by the end of the 1930s. Tesla claimed that
the theory provided an alternative to Einstein's general
relativity, explaining gravity as a mix of transverse
and longitudinal electromagnetic waves.
"... It explains the causes and
motions of heavenly bodies under it's influence so satisfactorily
that it will put an end to idle speculation and false
conception, such as that of curved space ... '
Only the existence of a field of force
can account for the motions of the bodies as observed,
and its assumption dispenses with space curvature. All
literature on this subject is futile and destined to
oblivion. So are all attempts to explain the workings
of the universe without recognising the existence of
the aether and the indispensable function it plays in
During an 1891 lecture on the structure
of the aether and electromagnetism, Tesla stated that
there was 'an infinitesimal world, with molecules and
atoms moving in orbits in much the same manner as celestial
bodies, carrying with them static charges...', and,
that there were independent carriers transmitting '...
tensions or electrostatic strains...' This predated
the research of Rutherford, Bohr, and Einstein into
the nature of fundamental particles.
Part of the criticism against Tesla,
however, relates to his refusal to accept that mass
can be converted into energy, a fact generally seen
as supporting relativity.
in 1896, too, when I told them about cosmic rays. They
jeered 35 years ago when I discovered the rotating field
principle of alternating currents. They called me crazy
when I predicted the radio. And when I sent the first
impulse around the world, they said it couldn't be done."
Nikola Tesla, 1937
Wardenclyffe Tower and 'Wireless
In 1900, with 150,000 dollars (51%) from JP Morgan,
Tesla began planning the Wardenclyffe Tower facility,
perhaps his most controversial patent. It was billed
as the start of a global system for Wireless Telecommunications,
and was also intended, more controversially, as a demonstration
of Wireless Electrical Power Distribution.
In 1903, upon hearing of Tesla's plans for wireless
power transmission, Morgan refused any more funding
to support the Tower project. The tower was finally
dismantled for scrap during wartime. In the article
'The Future of the Wireless Art' which appeared in Wireless
Telegraphy & Telephony, 1908, Tesla made the following
statement regarding the Wardenclyffe project:
"As soon as completed, it will be
possible for a business man in New York to dictate instructions,
and have them instantly appear in type at his office
in London or elsewhere. He will be able to call up,
from his desk, and talk to any telephone subscriber
on the globe, without any change whatever in the existing
equipment. An inexpensive instrument, not bigger than
a watch, will enable its bearer to hear anywhere, on
sea or land, music or song, the speech of a political
leader, the address of an eminent man of science, or
the sermon of an eloquent clergyman, delivered in some
other place, however distant. In the same manner any
picture, character, drawing, or print can be transferred
from one to another place. Millions of such instruments
can be operated from but one plant of this kind.
"More important than this, however,
will be the transmission of power, without wires, which
will be shown on a scale large enough to carry conviction.
These few indications will be sufficient to show that
the wireless art offers greater possibilities than any
invention or discovery heretofore made, and if the conditions
are favourable, we can expect with certitude that in
the next few years wonders will be wrought by its application."
Westinghouse allegedly commented to the
effect that 'Wireless electrical power' would effectively
break the power industry financially.
Tesla and Medicine
Tesla's name has been honored with the
international unit of magnetic flux density, the 'Tesla'.
All magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines are calibrated
with Tesla Units (from .2 to 9 Teslas). MRI machines
work on the principle of a homogeneous magnet field.
Nikola Tesla discovered the Rotating Magnetic Field
in Budapest, 1882. The Tesla Unit for magnetism was
established in 1956 at the Rathaus of Munich, Germany,
by the International Electrotechnical Commission Committee
Additionally, he pioneered the use of
ozone for the treatment of water, a technique which
is once again becoming popular because of its benign
nature and the fact that no chlorine or other dangerous
chemicals are needed.
He also speculated about the potential
curative and analgesic powers of electromagnetism.
It is important to undertand
that Tesla's Aether concept is not analogous to classical
aether theories. Tesla's aether was in fact a medium,
or 'perfect fluid' that wets everything in which we are
immersed, acting as an 'independent carrier'. It behaves
as a solid to light (high frequency) and is transparent
to matter, while it's effects, according to Tesla, can
be felt through inertia.
The spectacular and
highly visible effects produced by tesla coils have been
the subject of controversy for years. The high frequency,
high voltage energy produced possesses strange qualities
unlike conventional electricity. It defies most insulating
material, transmits energy without wires, produces heat,
light and noise, and yet harmlessly passes through human
tissue with virtually no shocking effects. Much research,
money and effort has been dedicated to the construction
of similar large devices capable of producing 200 foot
lightning bolts and lightning 25 miles away. The tesla
coil is the basis for much of the ongoing research into
Unfortunately, much of Tesla's work has been clouded
by various conspiracy theories because of the potential
military and economic implications of many of his ideas.
Some have claimed that he became delusional later in
life, while others have suggested that his death may
have been hastened by 'pressure' from various 'agencies'
in order to obtain information relating to his theories.
Immediately after his death, the FBI (Federal Bureau
of Investigation) instructed the Office of Alien Property
to take possession of his papers and property, despite
his US citizenship. J Edgar Hoover declared the case
'MOST SECRET' because of the nature of Tesla's inventions
Tesla turned down a Nobel Prize when he was offered
to share it with Edison.
contributed more to electrical science than any man up
to his time." Lord Kelvin
Conspiracy theories and petty
politics aside, Tesla was clearly a brilliant man with
ideas well ahead of his time. There exist many interesting
parallels between his visionary ideas and those of the
more contemporary Electric Universe.
"I am not an inventor. I am a discoverer of new
scientific principles." Nikola Tesla