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As a student in Prague in the 1870s, Tesla "saw" the electric induction motor and patented his discovery—the first of many inventions whose plans seem to have ...
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As a student in Prague in the 1870s, Tesla "saw" the electric induction motor and patented his discovery—the first of many inventions whose plans seem to have come to him fully fledged. He worked for the Edison company in Paris before emigrating to the U.S. and battling with Thomas Edison himself to ensure that alternating, rather than direct current, became the standard. He sold his patent in the induction motor for one million dollars to George Westinghouse, who used this system for the Niagara Falls Power Project.
Moving to Colorado Springs, Tesla worked on resonance, building enormous oscillating towers in experiments which still intrigue today. In later life, Tesla became a recluse, bombarding newspapers with eccentric claims, including energy transmission to other planets.
Though he died alone and virtually forgotten, rumors gradually grew that Tesla had made further remarkable discoveries. In an attempt to replicate his experiments, people still build Tesla towers and puzzle over the possible link with low-frequency broadcasts which can supposedly disrupt the weather and affect the human mind.
Author Biography: Born in a suburb of Liverpool, England, just before the Second World War, David Peat remembers frequent trips to the damp and smelly air raid shelter. His interest in science was awakened by the magnesium casings of incendiary bombs—the magnesium could be lit by playing a bunsen burner on it. This interest was strengthened by his physics teacher at school, who encouraged his pupils to work things out from first principles. Peat frequented the Cavern jazz club in Liverpool, but didn't take the new beat groups who began to appear there (including the Beatles) too seriously.
Interest in experimental physics gave way to theoretical and philosophical concerns in such areas as quantum theory. Density matrices brought him to Canada, where he stayed 30 years, teaching and writing and following the work of thinker David Bohm.