“Let the future tell the truth and evaluate each one according to his work and accomplishments. The present is theirs; the future, for which I really worked, is mine.” (“A Visit to Nikola Tesla” by Dragislav L. Petković in Politika (April 1927))
Nikola Tesla was a man who saw beyond the confines of his own time. The inventor, engineer, and physicist developed the alternate electric currents system and discovered the rotating magnetic field that modern technology relies on to this day. Electricity as an energy source, radio, x-rays, wireless communication, and remote controls are just a few of the scientific fields Tesla contributed to and developed. The futurist theorized and experimented tirelessly throughout his whole life in attempts to push forward a growth in humankind.
Tesla worked for Thomas Edison when he first arrived in the United States from the Austrian Empire. Edison’s direct currents energy system had already begun spreading across the country as the mainstream power source and Tesla was tasked with fixing and developing Edison’s DC-based inventions. However, the two genius’ personalities clashed when it came to matters on business and science so Tesla left and founded his own electric company. He researched and experimented more on his alternate electrical system and acquired many patents for his resulting inventions.
While Nikola Tesla was still alive, he attained approximately three hundred patents across the world. Guglielmo Marconi, the inventor of radio, relied on many of Tesla’s patents to successfully make the first trans-Atlantic radio transmission. By the late 1880s, George Westinghouse obtained Tesla’s patent on his alternating current motor for a large price, so Tesla was throttled into the ensuing cutthroat competition against Edison over which electrical current system the world would adopt. Just before the turn of the twentieth century, the AC system was acknowledged to be the most efficient, cheapest, and reliable power source and it prevailed through time as modern electrical systems still rely on its designs today.
Nikola Tesla’s life and acclaims have only recently been brought to mainstream attention after decades of being overlooked for the more business and marketing-savvy minds like Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse. Tesla’s story resonates with people today because the scientist was a true underdog of his time, choosing to expend himself more on scientific growth and innovation rather than wealth and reputation. Tesla died poor in a suite in Hotel New Yorker, where he had been living in for the last ten years of his life, but Tesla died forever theorizing and tapping his thoughts into realms of infinite possibilities. He was a man who saw his place in the world, the relationship between humans, nature, and time, and the future he would not live to see. His influence lies in his big-picture knowledge and in his genuine and steadfast approach towards scientific advancement. Nikola Tesla has changed the world for the better when he first discovered the limitless and forever growing potential of humankind.
“Can man control this grandest, most awe-inspiring of all processes in nature? Can he harness her inexhaustible energies to perform all their functions at his bidding? more still cause them to operate simply by the force of his will? If he could do this, he would have powers almost unlimited and supernatural. At his command, with but a slight effort on his part, old worlds would disappear and new ones of his planning would spring into being. He could fix, solidify and preserve the ethereal shapes of his imagining, the fleeting visions of his dreams. He could express all the creations of his mind on any scale, in forms concrete and imperishable. He could alter the size of this planet, control its seasons, guide it along any path he might choose through the depths of the Universe. He could cause planets to collide and produce his suns and stars, his heat and light. He could originate and develop life in all its infinite forms.” (New York American, 6 July 1930)