Wednesday, January 6, 2010
OK, I am a little miffed this morning. My plan was to use this picture of Nicola Tesla as this week's mystery person, but when I put up the picture of Edison yesterday, no one wanted to talk about Edison, they wanted to talk about his arch-Nemesis, Nicola Tesla. Yes, I too have to admit having a fascination with Tesla. The feud between Edison and Tesla was one of the most famous of the last century. It was over whether DC or AC electricity should be used in developing the power grid.
I consider Tesla to perhaps be the brightest man of the last 200 years. He had the inventive talent of Edison, he had the mathematical and scientific talent of Einstein, and he had the showmanship of P.T. Barnum. He brought these three things together to envision wild and impossible sounding ideas, and then bring them to complete and practical solutions. He was responsible for inventing most of the things necessary for building a practical electrical generation and distribution system. In addition, he either invented, or played a major part in the development of x-rays, radios, and various wireless technology. While Tesla was a true Genius, at the same time he was somewhat of a madman. In some cases it was difficult to tell whether his ideas were brilliance or fantasy. He had a number of peculiar behaviors and compulsive instincts, which in later years got worse. There was a good movie a few years ago called the Prestige. The movie is not about Tesla as such, but he is a fairly important part of the plot. I found the portrayal of Tesla in the movie to be very good.