Nikola Tesla is one of the most enigmatic personalities in science. He is also one of its gifted minds, and his legacy lives on to this day. But just as he enjoys all the post-humous acclaims, his life wasn’t as filled with adulations. Tesla had to suffer for his craft, but his contributions to science cannot be understated.
Although his life was well documented, Nikola Tesla is still shrouded in mystery. From his overall demeanour to his bouts with mental issues to his fascination with pigeons towards the end of his life, everything Tesla did had an air of mystery around them.
But his personal issues aside, Tesla made significant contributions to physics, and some of these contributions could have changed the world if they were fully set into motion. If you are curious to know various interesting facts about Nikola Tesla and his contributions to physics, read the article to find out what these things are.
Nikola Tesla’s Contributions to Physics
With physics being the primary focus of scientists during his time, Nikola Tesla sought to make the world a better place by constantly patenting various inventions. Some of his creations were built upon already established concepts, while others were built from scratch.
The central themes of Nikola Tesla’s inventions revolved around electricity, magnetism, and radio waves, which led to him being dubbed the “God of Thunder” in contemporary pop culture.
With that being said, here are Nikola Tesla’s contributions to physics:
- Tesla Coil
Tesla had a dream of providing wireless and free electricity to the people, and he invented the Tesla Coil to do just that. The Tesla Coil is a device comprised of two sets of windings that generate electricity, and when electrical devices are placed near the coil, the coil will power those devices without using a wire.
This invention is a modification of an already existing design–the Ruhmkorff Coil. Tesla made improvements to the device and solved the lingering problems it had, creating a brand new invention out of the already existing one.
However, because the electricity produced by the Tesla Coil cannot be focused in a single direction, it was deemed inefficient and was never mass-produced.
- Remote Control Technology
These days, we are all too familiar with remote control technology, as we often see them in toys like remote-controlled cars or even helpful devices such as drones. But you’d be surprised to know that Nikola Tesla is the one who created the technology.
Tesla wanted to propose the idea of a remote-controlled torpedo to the US Military, and he demonstrated the power of a remote-controlled boat using radio waves back in 1898. Unfortunately, the US Military didn’t find the invention interesting, and the idea of a remote-controlled torpedo was scrapped.
However, the radio wave technology used for the boat helped lay the foundation for technologies we enjoy today, such as television sets and other devices that use radio waves.
- Radio Technology
Continuing the discussion regarding radio technology, Nikola Tesla was also one of the first scientists to tap into the potential of this technology. However, through some confusion regarding who patented the technology first, he was beaten to the punch by his then-rival Guglielmo Marconi.
This contribution’s impact on everyday use and military use could not be understated. The radio technology for remote-controlled devices is still a central concept that various devices use, not just in communications but also in everyday entertainment devices that we use and enjoy.
- Contributions to Hydroelectric Plants
Focusing his time and energy on specialising in electricity, Nikola Tesla was also a key figure in establishing one of the first few hydroelectric plants. Tesla’s efforts and ideas were used in the hydroelectric AC power station based in Niagara Falls.
Hydroelectric plants work so that the pressure from the falls is utilised to generate electricity. This happens by making the water pressure turn the turbines within the plants, thus generating power.
The impact of Tesla’s contributions to hydroelectric plants can still be felt to this day since these plants are still being utilised for electricity.
- Alternating Current
The most important contribution of Nikola Tesla to science and the world is his discovery of the alternating current. Backed by George Westinghouse, Tesla was able to transmit electricity over long distances, and it was also a much more affordable method than Thomas Edison’s direct current.
While both currents are used for different purposes today, AC is more widely used than DC since the alternating current has a more extended reach, thus making it perfect for buildings and homes. This contribution of Nikola Tesla is being enjoyed to this day, which makes it one of the, if not his most important contributions.
Related: Path Finder Physics
Five Interesting Facts About Nikola Tesla
Now that we have covered Nikola Tesla’s contributions to physics let us explore more about the man himself. As mentioned earlier, Tesla was shrouded in mystery, and he had interesting tendencies which made him unique or quirky to others.
Tesla also suffered a lot throughout his life. While some of his contemporaries had it easy, he had to make certain sacrifices and endure many hardships for his craft. Here are five interesting facts about Nikola Tesla:
- Some of Tesla’s Inventions Were Highly Classified
Adding to the mystique of Tesla is the fact that a vast majority of his inventions were confiscated upon his death, and most of those were highly classified. Tesla experienced both World Wars, and some of his creations were geared toward military use, like the aforementioned remote-controlled torpedo. One can only speculate what these inventions are since the mind of Tesla is a complex code to crack.
- Nikola Tesla Suffered From Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
One of the well-known facts about Tesla is that he suffered from obsessive-compulsive disorder. One perfect example of this issue was his fascination with the number three, where he would often adjust different aspects of his life to fit the numbers 3, 6 and 9 or pick hotel rooms with numbers divisible by 3, 6 or 9. He would also walk around the block three times before entering a building, solidifying his fascination with the number.
- Born During A Lightning Storm
Perhaps it was fate, or maybe it was just a coincidence, but Nikola Tesla was born during a thunderstorm in the late hours of July 9, 1856. Tesla went on to specialise in electricity and had dreams of making it accessible and free to everyone.
- His Rivalry With Thomas Edison Was a Friendly One
While there might be a reason to believe that the rivalry between Tesla and Edison was a hostile one, evidence suggests that they had mutual respect for one another. Nikola Tesla worked for Thomas Edison before branching off and looking to establish his own company, and they have had a friendly rivalry ever since.
It was even said that when Tesla’s lab burned down, Thomas Edison was one of the first people to help him pick himself back up by offering one of his laboratories. The stories that claim Thomas Edison hated Tesla might be unfounded or made up, and they might have sprung because of the so-called “current wars” both parties were in.
- Tesla Died Poor and Desolate
One of the saddest parts of Nikola Tesla’s life was towards its end. Suffering from other mental issues aside from his obsessive-compulsive disorder and being moneyless because of his efforts to make his inventions free for public consumption, he spent his dying days in cheap hotel rooms paid for by George Westinghouse.
While the end of Nikola Tesla’s life proved to be tragic, his legacy and great ideas live on today. Tesla was a genius who wanted to use his vast knowledge of physics to help other people and not for his personal gain. Nikola Tesla is a perfect example of when you dedicate yourself to your craft, in his case, physics, you can achieve great things.
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