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"The Secret and Mysterious Hero of Science : Nikola Tesla" by Dr. Niyazi Yukcu, Molecular Physics Expert, Sinop University, Turkey

Nikola Tesla
Above: Nikola Tesla (1856-1943) at the age of 38.

Hagia Sophia
Above: Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey. Image from www.greatistanbul.com

Even though his name is not recalled as much as Edison or Alexander Graham Bell, Nikola Tesla is one of the greatest inventor of all times with 700 patents, actually he may be considered as the best. He is of Serbian origin, born in Croatia and a citizen of the United States, thank to this great scientist people live in brightly lit cities; radio, walkie-talkie, electrical motors, remote controlled electrical systems, laser technology, fluorescent light and so many other things he pioneered are being used in our daily lives. Unfortunately, today, the only thing even the physicists and electrical engineers know about him is the fact that his last name is the magnetic field unit.

Dr. Niyazi YÜKÇÜ, Molecular Physics Expert, Sinop University, Turkey

Nicola Tesla (1856-1943) in his whole life, did not own a home, he lived in hotels, never got married and besides him being a genius, his interesting personality was always the center of attention. Since he arrived to New York in 1884 he stayed in many hotels (especially the New Yorker which was the one he stayed the longest in) he would order his meal by phone, he would sit all alone in his suit at the table, since he had an obsession of numbers that could be divided by three he would order his napkins according to this and after a thorough hygiene control he would eat his meal. The only thing he was not disgusted to get close to and touch were the doves he would feed with joy in his hotel room. Tesla had an incredible memory. He would at first form the machines in his head and get them to work and only then that he would start the application. Even though he had a strange personality he had spent his whole life providing free electricity for people and wanted people to benefit from his technological products equally. Even though he had beaten many inventors of his time in science and technology he was always beaten financially. Especially the current war he had started with Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931), even though Tesla’s alternative current became victorious against Edison’s, Edison was the one who added wealth to his gains. In 1915 Tesla refused to share the Nobel Prize of 40 thousand dollars with Edison and the Nobel foundation decided to give the prize to W. H. Bragg and son W. L. Bragg.

In 1884 more than sixteen million European and Asian had immigrated to America and were continuing to come. Women, men and even children were like fuel feeding the industrial revolution which boomed in America. Tesla did not even want to step into the Immigration Employment Office where people were marketed like slave to work for over thirteen hours a day in factories, mines, railroads and docks. Instead he had worked together with Mr. Batchelor who was the branch manager of a company in Paris and a friend of Edison. Tesla received a recommendation letter written to Edison. Tesla, was standing in front of Edison Electric Light Company and after he gave the letter to Edison he began to tell him about the alternate current induction motor which worked with cyclic magnetic field principle he had discovered. Edison got upset and said that they were using the right current in America and that they were happy with it. However se said that he could give a job to Tesla. There was a passenger ship docked in New York called SS Oregon whose power plant at the lighting network didn’t work and they could not fix it for days now, so Edison asks Tesla to fix it. Genius Tesla starts work that day and with the help of the crew he manages to work nonstop and fixes all malfunctions of the ship in one night. When he stood across Edison in the morning, Edison is of course shocked and offers him to redesign all of the power plants of the company in return for 50 thousand dollars. After working for a year Tesla goes to Edison to get his money and gets this answer “Tesla apparently you are not well acquainted with the sense of humor of us Americans”. For Tesla his inventions were an awakening for people and their value was measured by people using them, on the other hand to Edison it was measured by how much he made. Until his final days Tesla always had a difference of opinions with the firms he worked with and in the jobs he did, he was always deceived, his patents were always tried to be eliminated and his copy rights were not paid.

The Ability of Foresight Beyond His Time

Tesla Memorial Society whose headquarters are in New York sent many letters to the leaders of the world stating that Tesla is the inventor or master mind of many things we use today. His works were nor restricted with technical inventions, there were also theories about communication with the outside world, teleportation and time travel. On the contrary of Einstein’s theory of relativity he was working on a universe model he named dynamic theory of gravity. In the conferences he had attended he used to talk about the impracticality of telephones with chords and that they should develop portable telephones. He used to work on planes that could be controlled with a remote; he created lightning and worked very secretly on methods to create new energy. I wonder how many more of Tesla’s works are waiting to be proven and how many of them have been proven? Let’s give an example from two their scientists whose foresights have come true:

The famous physicist Richard Feynman (1918-1988), during a conference, made a speech titled “There is plenty of room at the bottom” in 1959. In this speech Feynman said that there could be many more developments if production in the size of molecules and atoms were made there would be much more developments. Also Feynman, during his speech, mentioned a dream he had: Some high school students wrote “is it good?” on a pinhead and sent it to the rival high school, the rivals wrote “not that bad!” inside the dot of the letter “i” of “is it good?” and sent it back to them. When we look at where we are today with nanotechnology applications and computer technology we can clearly see that we are past and beyond the dreams of Feynman.

Paul Adrien Maurice Dirac (1902-1984) one of the founders of quantum physics, spoke of an anti matter when he wrote the Dirac equation which made him win the Nobel Physics Prize in 1933. In the following years, much small evidence was obtained regarding anti matter. One of the biggest proofs came from CERN particle laboratory just a few days ago. On June 05, 2011, CERN published on their official web site that they were able to obtain hydrogen atoms for resolutely 16 minutes.

Advices from Tesla

At the beginning of the 20th century, Nikola Tesla has many patents from the American Patent Office about wireless electricity transmission. Tesla conducted very serious research regarding ionosphere and with this purpose between the years of 1901 and 1917 in Shoreham, Long Island he built the Wardenclyffe Tower (Tesla Tower) which was the first radio transmission and wireless electricity carrier center. However this project was never supported by any foundation and the studies at Tesla Tower were ended. Maybe if the project had continued the world today would be producing cheaper and more productive energy. Actually today there are many interesting developments regarding the subject. It’s just as if someone remembered that Tesla was trying to produce wireless energy. According to the news published at the famous British newspaper Daily Mail on May 27th 2011, the Japanese are planning to install solar panels on the moon with robots and thus provide 13.000 terawatts of energy to the world. Thus, they will provide energy by transforming the solar energy to laser and microwave and transmitting it to the world. The Japanese who are planning on covering the sun with solar panels are planning on providing energy for the whole world. As you will remember there was a tsunami disaster on March 11, 2011 and it’s negative effects are still ongoing at the Fukushima Nuclear Reactor. Furthermore since that date, many countries of the world hit the brakes on production of electricity through nuclear means and began searching for safer, cheaper and more environmentalist methods for energy production. The wireless electrical transmission method planned by the Japanese definitely reminds us of Tesla and this is a joyful occasion for science and humanity.

Even though Tesla believed that he would live 150 years, he closed his eyes to the world in his hotel room with some science medals he had accepted and his doves without a nickel in 1943. According to some rumors in the science world, he had asked some of his close friends to write “Now he’s happy” on his tomb stone. FBI who used to follow Tesla’s studies real closely took all of his research notes and unpublished works after his death.

Today there are many foundations and societies that are built in the memory of Tesla. The purposes of these foundations are to deliver the rights of Tesla and give him the interest he did not get in his days and to remind the world of him. Under these scopes, the 10th of July which is accepted as the birthday of Tesla by the United Nations is known and celebrated as the science, space research, evolution and brotherhood day, “Nicola Tesla Day”, amongst all nations and religions.

We hope that this article will leave a positive effect in the readers minds and will contribute to consolidate the place Nicola Tesla deserves in the world of science.

(This article was published in the Tr’de MARKA Magazine, issue 2, pages 36-39, Turkey, 2011)