Image of Nikola Tesla


Lifetime: 1856 - 1943 Passed: ≈ 81 years ago


Inventor, Electrical Engineer


United States

Nikola Tesla

Nikola Tesla, a Serbian-American inventor, electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, and futurist, stands as a towering figure in the history of science and technology. His groundbreaking inventions, particularly in the field of alternating current (AC) electricity, revolutionized the world and laid the foundation for many modern technologies.

Early Life and Education

Born in Smiljan, Lika, Austrian Empire (present-day Croatia), on July 10, 1856, Nikola Tesla displayed an early aptitude for science and engineering. His father, Milutin Tesla, was an Orthodox priest, while his mother, Đuka Tesla, was a homemaker known for her intelligence and creativity.

Tesla's formal education began at the Karlovac Real Gymnasium in Karlovac, Croatia, where he excelled in mathematics and physics. He later attended the Technical University of Graz in Austria, but left after a year due to financial difficulties.

Pioneering Work in Electricity

Tesla's fascination with electricity led him to pursue a career in engineering. He worked for various companies in Europe, including Continental Edison Company in Paris and the Edison Machine Works in New York City.

It was during his time at Edison Machine Works that Tesla's genius truly blossomed. He made significant contributions to the development of direct current (DC) electricity systems, but his true passion lay in the potential of AC electricity.

Tesla's belief in the superiority of AC over DC sparked a fierce rivalry with his former employer, Thomas Edison. This rivalry, known as the "War of Currents," played a crucial role in shaping the development of modern electricity systems.

Notable Inventions and Contributions

Tesla's most notable invention is the polyphase AC system, which is the foundation of modern AC electricity generation and transmission. His work on AC motors, transformers, and generators made it possible to transmit electricity over long distances efficiently, paving the way for the widespread electrification of homes and industries.

Tesla's contributions extended far beyond AC electricity. He made groundbreaking discoveries in wireless communication, radio, and X-ray technology. He also developed a variety of other inventions, including the Tesla coil, a high-voltage, high-frequency transformer that has found applications in various fields, from medicine to entertainment.

A Philosophy of Innovation and Progress

Tesla's work was driven by a deep-seated belief in the power of science and technology to improve the lives of humanity. He was a visionary who saw beyond the immediate applications of his inventions, recognizing their potential to revolutionize society.

Tesla's philosophy was also deeply influenced by his fascination with nature and the universe. He believed that the fundamental principles of physics could be harnessed to unlock new technologies and achieve remarkable feats.

Remembering Nikola Tesla

Nikola Tesla passed away on January 7, 1943, in New York City, at the age of 86. Despite his immense contributions to science and technology, he died a relatively unknown and unappreciated figure.

In recent years, Tesla's reputation has undergone a revival, and he is now widely recognized as one of the most important inventors and scientists of all time. His inventions have had a profound impact on the modern world, and his legacy continues to inspire generations of scientists and engineers.

Interesting Facts About Nikola Tesla

  • Tesla was a polymath with a wide range of interests, including mathematics, physics, philosophy, and literature.
  • He was a polyglot, fluent in eight languages.
  • Tesla was a prolific inventor, holding over 700 patents.
  • He was a visionary who predicted many of the technological advancements of the 20th century.


Nikola Tesla's life and work stand as a testament to the power of human ingenuity and the transformative potential of scientific discovery. His inventions have shaped the modern world, and his legacy continues to inspire and challenge us to explore the boundaries of what is possible.

Books by Nikola Tesla

My Inventions and Other Works Cover image

My Inventions and Other Works

Biography Science
Autobiography Astronomy Physics Mechanics Philosophical Life Inventions Electricity

Step into the extraordinary mind of Nikola Tesla, a visionary inventor who transformed the modern world with his groundbreaking discoveries in electricity, radio, and X-ray technology. In "My Inventions and Other Works," Tesla takes you on a captivat...