Ed Coker's Reviews > Tesla: Man Out of Time

Tesla by Margaret Cheney
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M 50x66
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Feb 19, 2010

really liked it

Tesla was the only real Leonardo da Vinci of our age (1856-1943). His genius was in the field of electricity. He was quirky, he was feared as a “mad scientist” an image that he developed and encouraged, he ended his years sitting on a park bench in Central Park covered with pigeons, but, in spite of all that, his incredible accomplishments were real and verifiable. Many of his inventions have been credited to others in the popular mind and his chief rivals, such as Thomas Edison and Marconi, won the public relations battle. But Tesla had a visual imagination for electricity unlike any other. For, example, he invented the electric motor in his mind, set it to work for a few weeks in a corner of his mind to work out the kinks and then drew the final blueprint for the electric motor as we know it today on the first try. Today the main item associated with his name is the Tesla Coil which remains primarily a toy for physics students and electrical engineers to demonstrate high voltage electricity, but do you realize that he developed and used a Tesla Coil that threw lightening bolts twenty miles across the Colorado prairie prior to 1900 and scared the hell out of the residents of Colorado Springs. Considering that it takes 18,000 volts to jump a gap of one inch, he pumped out a lot of power. He harnessed alternating current and developed the three phase electrical system. The Supreme Court determined that he invented radio before Marconi but the decision was not rendered until the last year of his life. Almost everything in the modern electronic world is dependent to some extent upon something that Tesla invented except for the incandescent light bulb which is properly credited to Edison.

Everyone should read this biography to see how much he shaped the world as we know it today. Some of the electronic devices Tesla invented and demonstrated have not been duplicated since.

In other areas, his mental talents raised issues that were bound to offend. For example, he decided to determine whether humans had a soul or whether everything they did was the result of cause and effect. To decide this, he recalled every incident in his life from an early age and concluded that every action he had taken was a reaction to a cause, i. e., we are all “meat machines.” Sorry about that. I didn't mean to ruin it for you.

Margaret Cheney did a great job. You don't have to know a thing about electricity or physics to appreciate what Tesla accomplished.
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message 1: by Chuck (new)

Chuck Nice review; it motivated me to reserve the book from our local library.


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