Physicist Nikola Tesla

Nikola Tesla was born on July 10, 1856 in themodern day Smiljan Croatia (NikolaTesla Biography 1). As a young boy,he always had an interest in sciences. That is why whilst his fatherwanted him to follow his footsteps into priesthood, Tesla opted tofollow a different path. Tesla grew to be one of the most prominentphysicists, engineers, and inventors of his time. Among theinventions that he is widely known for, is his major contributiontowards the creation of alternating current (AC). Most of themachines and gadgets that are in operation to this day still use AC.He was also able to build devices using electromagnetic wavesincluding X-ray machines and boats that were controlled remotelythrough wireless means. Tesla was one of the best scientists of hisage because of the deep-cutting discoveries he made in hislaboratory.

Early Life

Tesla was a second born in a family of fivechildren. His elder brother died in a horse accident and he remainedwith his three sisters (Tesla 34). His father was a priest with theOrthodox Church while his mother was more into art and craft. Sheused to weave during most of her time as a hobby and to earn thefamily some extra cash. His family was not wealthy, but they were notstruggling as well. Tesla’s father, as expected of a priest, raisedthem to be obedient and religious.

His education began in Smiljan where heattended primary school. He studied German, arithmetic, and religion.In 1870, Tesla would move to Karlovac where he attended higher realgymnasium (Seifer 78). This was an equivalent of high school in theSerbian empire. He got interested in the demonstrations performed byhis physics teacher. As he notes, the demonstrations drove him deeperinto trying to understand the principles behind these phenomena.

His interest in physics and matters electricitybegan through watching his professors in high school. He knew onething for sure that he wanted to better than his professors when hegrew up (Nikola Tesla Biography1). He was also a bright student in his class and he was good inmathematics, with ability to calculate integral calculus in his head.Some of his teachers thought that he was a cheat.

After completing his high school, he returnedto his birth village where he experienced a cholera attack. Theinfection was so severe that he was bed ridden for nine months. Quiteoften, he would seem to get better and then fall back after a fewdays. During the course of his illness, his father who had earlier onobjected to his idea of pursuing a career in engineering, promised topay his engineering tuition fees if he got better (Tesla 98). Teslamoved from his home to the mountains in Hunter’s garb in order toevade conscription into the Austro-Hungarian army. In his journey ofnature, he was able to recover his health fully and develop a peaceof mind.

He later moved to Budapest after attendinguniversity of Prague. While at Budapest, he worked at the centralphone exchange. His long stance at the company enabled him to come upwith the idea of induction motor (NikolaTesla Biography 1). He tried hisbest to gain interest in the subject but to no avail. He wanted tomake the invention a full-time career but unlucky for him, it wasjust not possible. It was at this stage, at the age of 28, when hedecided to pack his bag and leave Europe for America (NikolaTesla Biography 1). He figured thatthere could be better opportunities for his ideas over there.

The move to the USA and his Inventions

During his arrival at the USA in 1884, Tesladid not have much but a bag of clothes and a letter of introductionto an electronic mogul known as Thomas Edison. Edison’selectronics, which used direct current (DC), were slowly gainingground within the USA market (NikolaTesla Biography 2). People wereslowly accepting his inventions as the standard for all electronics.

His world of inventions was opened when he gotthe opportunity to work with Thomas Edison at his company. When Teslaarrived, Edison hired him together with two other men to make variousimprovements on his DC-based electrical works. However, it did nottake long before Tesla and Edison were at loggerheads (NikolaTesla Biography 1). It was only amatter of time before the two would break up owing to their differingideologies regarding electricity. In addition, Edison was more maturewhen it came to business unlike Tesla who was easy to manipulate.

After parting ways with Edison in 1885, Teslastarted his own company called the Tesla electric company. Investorsapproached him to develop arc lighting. Using their massiveresources, he was able to develop arc lighting and the deal ended(Nikola Tesla Biography1). What followed was one of Tesla’s longest stints of hardships.He resorted to manual labor in order to make end meet.

It was not until a few years later that someonedeveloped interest in Tesla’s AC system. An American engineer andbusinessperson called George Westinghouse bought the patent forTesla’s idea at $60,000. His intent was to win a governmentcontract to supply the entire country with electricity.

Meanwhile, Edison was also fighting to win thesame contract of supplying the whole country with his DC electricity(O’Neill 45). Edison resorted to a mudslinging campaign in order towin the tender. He bribed media houses to soil the reputation of ACterming is at dangerous and capable of causing death. However,despite playing dirty, Edison lost the contract to Westinghouse in1888 (Nikola Tesla Biography1). Tesla demonstrated the working of his idea at the World’sColumbia exposition and the spectators were impressed to award AC thecontract of supplying electricity.

Tesla used the money from the sale of his ACpatent to come up with more electrical inventions. During the courseof his studies, he was able to come up with a unique invention, adevice that he named the Tesla Coil (NikolaTesla Biography 1). The coil hasbeen instrumental in creating wireless devices. Radio frequencies andmobile connectivity all base their working on the Tesla coil. Presentday radio technology still uses the Tesla coil. Once again, he wasable to patent his idea.

Tesla is also remembered as being the firstperson to generate hydroelectric power. In 1893 at the Niagara Falls,he designed turbines that were used to generate AC from thewaterfall. The electricity generated was able to light the cities ofBuffalo and New York. Soon, the entire country began to warm up tothe idea of AC (Nikola TeslaBiography 1). Success stories ofthis type of electricity hit the masses and soon, everybody wanted tobe connected to the national grid. The success of Tesla’s AC spreadto other parts of the world and became the worldwide standard ofelectricity ever since. The positive publicity by the press made itcross to other continents faster.

Tesla was also a business person who createdinventions and sold them. The inventions include the dynamo, X-raytechnology, and the radar technology (NikolaTesla Biography 1). Most of themoney that he received from the sale of the patents was used for moreresearch in his labs. He did not use the money to enrich himself ormake a name for himself. This explains why not many people recognizedhim during his prime years. In fact, not many people knew that he wasbehind most of those inventions because the entrepreneurs to whom hesold his patents often obscured his name.

The fall from Grace

Tesla’s obsession with wireless transmissionmoved him to design a system in which power could be transmittedthrough wireless means (O’Neill 56). He came up with the concept ofcreating power masts that could then electricity wirelessly to allpeople. His rivals were objected to the idea and his investorswithdrew their support because they feared that the project wouldfail. He had no option but to file for bankruptcy and close his lab.He later died of a nervous breakdown in 1943 (NikolaTesla Biography 1).


Nikola Tesla was born in Croatia before movingto the USA. His interest in electricity developed when he saw hishigh school professors perform various electric demonstrations. Heworked in Budapest where he came up with the idea of the inductionmotor. When he moved to the USA, he worked for Thomas Edison who hadinvented DC. However, the two were to later break up citingirreconcilable differences. He later started to work on his owninvention and he managed to sell the patents of his AC invention toWestinghouse Corporation. AC spread throughout the world and remainsthe standard of electricity. He later went bankrupt when his idea oftransmitting electricity using a power mast was beaten by rivals.

Works Cited

Nikola Tesla Biography.2016. Nikola Tesla Biography.Web &lt 30, 2016.

O`Neill, James. Prodigalgenius: the life of Nikola Tesla.Book Tree, 2007, Print

Seifer, Marc. Wizard:The life and times of Nikola Tesla.Citadel, 1998, Print

Tesla, Nikola. Myinventions: the autobiography of Nikola Tesla.Cosimo, Inc., 2007, Print