Nikola Tesla was born on 10 July 1856 in Smiljan - Croatia as the fourth child of an Orthodox priest Milutin and his wife Georgina (Đuka) born Mandić.
The Tesla family had five children: Milka (married Glumičić), Angelina (married Trbojević), Danilo, Nikola and Marija-Marica (married Kosanović). Nikola Tesla died on 7 January 1943 in Hotel New Yorker in the room 3327.
The urn of Nikola Tesla is being kept in the Museum of Nikola Tesla in Belgrade. Most of the documents and Tesla's personal belongings were transported by Tesla's nephew Kosanović into the Museum.
Genius from Smiljan
Until his sixth year Tesla lived in Smiljan, where he completed the first grade of the elementary school. Tesla's education in Rakovac ended with passing of the high-school graduation exam on 24 July 1873. After graduating high school Tesla returned to his parents in Gospić where he contracted cholera. Due to the disease his father did not send him to study for becoming a priest, but to study technology instead. He eschewed military authorities and managed to evade a three-year service in the Austrian Army.
At the beginning of 1880 Tesla went to study in Prague, and the next year he got a job with the Puskas brothers in Budapest as a drawer in the telegraphic office. He later worked as a team leader for the building of a telephone exchange. In this team there was also Antal Szigety, a mechanic who will later become his faithful friend.
After a short spell of a disease, walking with Antal Szigety in a park and reciting Goethe's Faust, the idea of a rotating magnetic field came into his mind. He drew diagrams in the sand by a stick and suddenly the principle of work of an electro-motor powered by alternative current was completely clear to him. "I would give a thousand secrets of nature upon which I stumbled by accident, in exchange for this one which I extracted from nature, in spite of all the miracles and dangers which I faced", were Tesla's own words.
Tesla in America
In 1883 Tesla went to Strasburg where he managed to build his first induction electro-motor powered by alternating current. In 1884 he goes to the USA where he finds a job in the Edison Machine Works in New York. In April of 1887 the Tesla Electric Company was founded. On 30 July 1891 he becomes an American citizen. By the end of 1900 Morgan gave Tesla 150,000 dollars for the construction of a world-wide system of transmitting radio signals and acquired 51 percent ownership in all the patents related to radio. The next year began the building of a radio transmitting station in Wardenclyffe on Long Island with which Tesla hoped to realize a wireless energy transfer. Due to financial shortages in 1906 all work on the project of wireless energy transfer were halted. There was, however, a constant line of inventions, discoveries, new constructions and patents which Tesla produced with remarkable speed and quality.
Tesla's high frequency currents are used in medicine in diathermia and darsonvalisation, and in chemistry for obtaining ozone. These currents achieve light effects based on luminescence, and give a much more economic light than the electric bulb with a glowing thread. These currents got the greatest application in radio-technology. Tesla presented his radio-telegraphic transmitter and receiver in 1897, and the next year he built a boat, lowered it into the sea near New York and navigated it from the shore. In the state of Colorado he transmitted signals by wireless means at a distance of 1000 km, and erected a transmitter and receiver tower. With this tower Tesla became the father of radio technology. In Long Island he erected a 57 metre tower and experimented with transmitting large quantities of electric energy for household and industrial needs. Unknown perpetrators destroyed the tower.
Tesla's abilities - moving the boundaries of power
Most of his works Tesla realized by using intuition. His projects started in his visual imaging, which he then committed to paper and as a last step - into practice. He was the master of a magical world. His first encounter with these magic powers occurred during his studies in Graz. During his entire life myths and legends about him were spun. On the creation of mental images Tesla commented: "If my explanation is correct, then in principle it is possible to project our inner pictures and visions on the screen and make it visible to everyone, like a movie is projected by using a film projector." These experiences led him to think of constructing a robot, similar in action to a human mind.
Tesla had an unusual relationship and a great love of animals, especially pigeons. He fed and took care of pigeons, and his particular relationship was with a she-pigeon with whom he communicated in unusual ways. "This pigeon was the joy of my life, I loved her as a man loves a woman. If she needed me, nothing else mattered. As long as I had her, I had my life goal. It sufficed for me to think of her, to call her and she would fly over. I understood her and she understood me" spoke Tesla.
It could frequently be noticed that Tesla in his description of natural phenomena used the terminology of the ancient Sanskrit language. As far back as 1891 he described the universe as a kinetic system filled with energy which can be reached from any point on our or any other planets. The nature of matter, anti-matter or the atomic structure is described in the Vedas in detail. There were few people who could recognize the traces of ancient Indian philosophy in Tesla's texts. None of Tesla's friends knew when this encounter with Vedic knowledge took place. Once when asked if he believed in God and to which religion does he belong, he answered: "In my heart I am deeply religious, though not in the orthodox sense of that word. I am dedicated to the belief that the greatest secrets of our being still remain to be explained." Tesla studied the natural laws of the cosmos and arrived at new knowledge and discoveries, but he thought that the time was still not ripe to commit his discoveries to the public. He proposed to a famous artist, scientist and writer Walter Russell to lock their joint discoveries and hide them so that no-one could find them in the next 1000 years, until humanity becomes ripe enough to know them. Precisely due to new discoveries Tesla often said to other scientists: "Today is your day, my day is still coming. I am an inventor of the future."
Tesla's phobias and fears
He had an aversion toward female earrings, especially pearls. The smell of camphor caused him discomfort. He counted the steps when walking, calculated the volume of food. In his life, everything had to be divisible with 3. He therefore lived in room 3327 in the Hotel New Yorker, on the 33rd floor. He didn't want to touch another person's hair. Tesla used to say that in his desire to compensate to his parents the loss of his brother Danilo (some accused Tesla of his death) he subjected himself to a Spartan discipline. He trained his memory and telepathy even as a child. He had the capacity of visual memory to the smallest detail. When he was only three, he got acquainted with electricity by means of his tom-cat. When pulling him by the tail the back of the cat bathed in light. It was a new experience which will later lead Tesla to become a famous inventor. "Is nature one large cat? If it is, who is pulling her by the tail? It can only be God" concluded Tesla.
He had a theatrical approach when dining: arriving at dinner in an evening suit, at exactly the precise time, being escorted to his table, the service of the chief waiter, 12 napkins for wiping the hands and tableware. He regularly took a glass of warm milk.
The scientist of the world
Tesla won 15 honorary doctorates all over the world, spoke eight languages. In his honour the unit for magnetic induction is called Tesla. Having built the power plant on the Niagara Falls, his childhood dream came true.
Apart from his other qualities, he had a sense for elegance, so that several times he won the title of the best dressed man of the Fifth Avenue in New York.
On the occasion of the International Symposium Tesla at the Colorado University in Colorado Springs in 1986 the International Tesla Society, Inc. was founded. It is interesting that a list of the ten greatest geniuses of the second millennium can be seen on the web site of London's BBC radio station:
1. Johann Gutenberg - book printing
2. Thomas Alva Edison - utilization of electric energy
3. Leonardo da Vinci - hydrodynamics, astronomy, aviation
4. Nikola Tesla - electric machines and devices
WE CAN THEREFORE WITH FULL JUSTIFICATION CALL HIM A SCIENTIST OF THE WORLD OF ALL TIMES.