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Nikola Tesla

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"Nikola Tesla is the world's greatest inventor, not only at present but in all history...His basic as well as revolutionary discoveries, for sheer audacity, have no equal in the annals of the intellectual world." (Hugo Gernsback, science editor and publisher.)

Father of Alternating Current and AC induction motors, Nikola Tesla is known best for the high voltage generator that bears his name- the Tesla Coil. But this limited recognition hardly does justice to his legacy as an inventor. His name should be placed besides Thomas Edison, perhaps his biggest rival, for his contributions to electronics. But while electromagnetism was Tesla's primary focus during his life, the scope of his work and ideas were not so limited. He had many strange inventions and discoveries, many of which where not realized because of his opponents or for personal reasons. Others, as we will see, were simply too far-fetched or ambitious.

But much of that story's been told before, just as it has been for countless other great scientists and inventors. Here I hope to focus more on the nature of the man that gives birth to the idea of a global night-light or a mail tube beneath the Atlantic, and the other radical ideas that such a mind could create.

It's difficult to say why some of the more abnormal, and perhaps more interesting, details of history are forgotten or conveniently left out. Perhaps for simplicity, or perhaps to make history look more noble and admirable. Personally, I believe it's similar to people trying to forget their mistakes and the times they were "less than bright," in order to create an exaggerated image of themselves. Similarly, history tries to forget its more embarrassing moments, so that it may create a more more noble...

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...If she needed me, nothing else mattered. As long as I had her, there was a purpose in my life. Then one night as I was lying in my bed in the dark, solving problems, as usual, she flew in through the open window and stood on my desk. I knew she wanted me; she wanted to tell me something important so I got up and went to her. As I looked at her I knew she wanted to tell me- she was dying. And then, as I got her message, there came a light from her eyes- powerful beams of light...Yes, it was a real light, a powerful, dazzling, blinding light, a light more intense than I had ever produced by the most powerful lamps in my laboratory. When that pigeon died, something went out of my life.Up to that time I knew with a certainty that I would complete my work, no matter how ambitious my program, but when that something went out of my life I knew my life's work was finished."
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