June 21, 2006

Tesla Statue

Great article in a Pittsburgh, PA newspaper about a group of people who are trying to get Tesla's name up here it belongs. From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
Carnegie Mellon University unveils bust of great inventor Tesla
Some historians consider him the greatest inventor since Leonardo da Vinci, if not in history. Three of the Top 10 greatest inventions of the last century are his or directly based on his discoveries.

But anyone who thinks the answer is Thomas Edison must sit in the corner and wear a dunce cap.

The perhaps unexpected answer is Nikola Tesla -- the father of electricity, inventor of the radio, and guy whose discoveries led to computers and robotics.

Tesla, who died in 1943, has a close Pittsburgh connection, having worked here with George Westinghouse to develop his idea of polyphase alternating electrical current.

Westinghouse eventually purchased Tesla's inventions.

Carnegie Mellon University yesterday unveiled one of 19 bronze busts of Tesla that John Wagner, 78, of Ann Arbor, Mich., and his former students in Dexter, Mich., have donated to universities nationwide.

Mr. Wagner, a retired elementary school teacher, said he used Tesla's story to inspire students to write letters and raise money to offset the $114,000 price tag for the bronze sculptures.

His goal, he said, is to spread word about the man whose influence on modernity largely has been overlooked.
A bit more from the article about Tesla's inventions and his impact on our modern life:
In his lecture after the ceremony, Jeffrey Sellon, an electrical engineer with Western Engineering & Research Corp. in Denver, Colo., said Tesla's many discoveries, including as many as 750 patents, "had more profound an effect on the modern world than Westinghouse, Edison and [Albert] Einstein."

The National Academy of Engineers ranked electrification of the modern world -- based on Tesla's invention of alternating current -- as the greatest engineering feat of the 20th century, with Tesla's invention of radio ranked sixth along with his sizable influence on the eighth-ranked engineering feat -- computers.

Born in 1856 in Austria-Hungary, Tesla eventually emigrated to the United States when no one in Europe would embrace his ideas of alternating current. His U.S. patents for AC electrical transmission systems became the foundation for electric power used today.

He also invented robotic devices including a remote-controlled "teleautomaton" boat and developed the Tesla coil transformer, which spawned radio, X-ray tubes, and vertical takeoff and landing aircraft.

His other inventions include the telephone repeater, the induction motor, wireless communications and fluorescent lights.
John Wagner laughs as a Tesla coil-equipped robot creates an arc with the bust of inventor Nikola Tesla yesterday at Carnegie Mellon University. The bust was one of 19 that Mr. Wagner and his former students have donated to universities nationwide.
John Wagner's website is here: Nikola Tesla - Forgotten Scientist The International Tesla Society has a good list of his inventions and accomplishments. July 10th will be the 150th anniversary of his birth. Posted by DaveH at June 21, 2006 6:49 PM