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Wikipedia Summary for Nikola Tesla

Nikola Tesla ( TESS-lə; Serbian Cyrillic: Никола Тесла, pronounced [nǐkola têsla]; 10 July 1856 – 7 January 1943) was a Serbian-American inventor, electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, and futurist best known for his contributions to the design of the modern alternating current (AC) electricity supply system.

Born and raised in the Austrian Empire, Tesla studied engineering and physics in the 1870s without receiving a degree, gaining practical experience in the early 1880s working in telephony and at Continental Edison in the new electric power industry. In 1884 he emigrated to the United States, where he became a naturalized citizen. He worked for a short time at the Edison Machine Works in New York City before he struck out on his own. With the help of partners to finance and market his ideas, Tesla set up laboratories and companies in New York to develop a range of electrical and mechanical devices. His alternating current (AC) induction motor and related polyphase AC patents, licensed by Westinghouse Electric in 1888, earned him a considerable amount of money and became the cornerstone of the polyphase system which that company eventually marketed.

Attempting to develop inventions he could patent and market, Tesla conducted a range of experiments with mechanical oscillators/generators, electrical discharge tubes, and early X-ray imaging. He also built a wireless-controlled boat, one of the first-ever exhibited. Tesla became well known as an inventor and demonstrated his achievements to celebrities and wealthy patrons at his lab, and was noted for his showmanship at public lectures. Throughout the 1890s, Tesla pursued his ideas for wireless lighting and worldwide wireless electric power distribution in his high-voltage, high-frequency power experiments in New York and Colorado Springs. In 1893, he made pronouncements on the possibility of wireless communication with his devices. Tesla tried to put these ideas to practical use in his unfinished Wardenclyffe Tower project, an intercontinental wireless communication and power transmitter, but ran out of funding before he could complete it.

After Wardenclyffe, Tesla experimented with a series of inventions in the 1910s and 1920s with varying degrees of success. Having spent most of his money, Tesla lived in a series of New York hotels, leaving behind unpaid bills. He died in New York City in January 1943. Tesla's work fell into relative obscurity following his death, until 1960, when the General Conference on Weights and Measures named the SI unit of magnetic flux density the tesla in his honor. There has been a resurgence in popular interest in Tesla since the 1990s.


Every effort under compulsion demands a sacrifice of energy. I never paid such a price.

--Nikola Tesla

Crystals are living beings at the beginning of creation.

--Nikola Tesla

The individual is ephemeral, races and nations come and pass away, but man remains.

--Nikola Tesla

The future will show whether my foresight is as accurate now as it has proved heretofore.

--Nikola Tesla

Is nature a giant cat? If so, who strokes its back?

--Nikola Tesla

Instinct is something which transcends knowledge.

--Nikola Tesla

My mother understood human nature better and never chided. She knew that a man cannot be saved from his own foolishness or vice by someone else's efforts or protests, but only by the use of his own will.

--Nikola Tesla

We may produce at will, from a sending station. an electrical effect in any particular region of the globe; we may determine the relative position or course of a moving object, such as a vessel at sea, the distance traversed by the same, or its speed.

--Nikola Tesla

We should begin at the very root from which we spring, we should effect a radical reform in the character of the food.

--Nikola Tesla

One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.

--Nikola Tesla

My ear barely caught signals coming in regular succession which could not have been produced on earth.

--Nikola Tesla

Alternate currents, especially of high frequencies, pass with astonishing freedom through even slightly rarefied gases. The upper strata of the air are rarefied. To reach a number of miles out into space requires the overcoming of difficulties of a merely mechanical nature.

--Nikola Tesla

There is no subject more captivating, more worthy of study, than nature. To understand this great mechanism, to discover the forces which are active, and the laws which govern them, is the highest aim of the intellect of man.

--Nikola Tesla

All peoples everywhere should have free energy sources.

--Nikola Tesla

The day when we shall know exactly what electricity is will chronicle an event probably greater, more important than any other recorded in the history of the human race. The time will come when the comfort, the very existence, perhaps, of man will depend upon that wonderful agent.

--Nikola Tesla

It has cost me years of thought to arrive at certain results, by many believed to be unattainable, for which there are now numerous claimants, and the number of these is rapidly increasing, like that of the colonels in the South after the war.

--Nikola Tesla

I am equally proud of my Serbian origin and my Croatian fatherland.

--Nikola Tesla

I predict that very shortly the old-fashioned incandescent lamp, having a filament heated to brightness by the passage of electric current through it, will entirely disappear.

--Nikola Tesla

Every living being is an engine geared to the wheel-work of the universe.

--Nikola Tesla

Ere many generations pass, our machinery will be driven by a power obtainable at any point of the universe.

--Nikola Tesla

Longer Version:

Ere many generations pass, our machinery will be driven by a power obtainable at any point of the universe. This idea is not novel... We find it in the delightful myth of Antaeus, who derives power from the earth; we find it among the subtle speculations of one of your splendid... Throughout space there is energy. Is this energy static or kinetic! If static our hopes are in vain; if kinetic - and this we know it is, for certain - then it is a mere question of time when men will succeed in attaching their machinery to the very wheelwork of nature.


It is a mere question of time when men will succeed in attaching their machinery to the very wheelwork of nature.

--Nikola Tesla

The gift of mental power comes from God, Divine Being, and if we concentrate our minds on that truth, we become in tune with this great power. My Mother had taught me to seek all truth in the Bible.

--Nikola Tesla

Money does not represent such a value as men have placed upon it. All my money has been invested into experiments with which I have made new discoveries enabling mankind to have a little easier life.

--Nikola Tesla

Great moments are born great opportunity.

--Nikola Tesla

When natural inclination develops into a passionate desire, one advances towards his goal in seven-league boots.

--Nikola Tesla

For ages this idea has been proclaimed in the consummately wise teachings of religion, probably not alone as a means of insuring peace and harmony among men, but as a deeply founded truth. The Buddhist expresses it in one way, the Christian in another, but both say the same: We are all one.

--Nikola Tesla

From childhood I was compelled to concentrate attention upon myself. This caused me much suffering, but to my present view, it was a blessing in disguise for it has taught me to appreciate the inestimable value of introspection in the preservation of life, as well as a means of achievement.

--Nikola Tesla

But I hope that it will also be demonstrated soon that in my experiments in the West I was not merely beholding a vision, but had caught sight of a great and profound truth.

--Nikola Tesla

To conquer by sheer force is becoming harder and harder every day. Defensive is getting continuously the advantage of offensive, as we progress in the satanic science of destruction.

--Nikola Tesla

No rocket will reach the moon save by a miraculous discovery of an explosive far more energetic than any known. And even if the requisite fuel were produced, it would still have to be shown that the rocket machine would operate at 459 degrees below zero-the temperature of interplanetary space.

--Nikola Tesla

We build but to tear down. Most of our work and resource is squandered. Our onward march is marked by devastation. Everywhere there is an appalling loss of time, effort and life. A cheerless view, but true.

--Nikola Tesla

When I get an idea I start at once building it up in my imagination. I change the construction, make improvements and operate the device in my mind. It is absolutely immaterial to me whether I run my turbine in my thought or test it in my shop. I even note if it is out of balance.

--Nikola Tesla



The progressive development of man has as its ultimate purpose the complete mastery of mind over the material world.

--Nikola Tesla






We crave for new sensations but soon become indifferent to them. The wonders of yesterday are today common occurrences.

--Nikola Tesla

I have already demonstrated, by crucial tests, the practicability of signaling by my system from one to any other point of the globe, no matter how remote, and I shall soon convert the disbelievers.

--Nikola Tesla

The scientific man does not aim at an immediate result. He does not expect that his advanced ideas will be readily taken up. His work is like that of the planter -- for the future. His duty is to lay the foundation for those who are to come, and point the way. He lives and labors and hopes.

--Nikola Tesla

I would not give my rotating field discovery for a thousand inventions, however valuable... A thousand years hence, the telephone and the motion picture camera may be obsolete, but the principle of the rotating magnetic field will remain a vital, living thing for all time to come.

--Nikola Tesla

In a time not distant, it will be possible to flash any image formed in thought on a screen and render it visible at any place desired. The perfection of this means of reading thought will create a revolution for the better in all our social relations.

--Nikola Tesla

As in nature, all is ebb and tide, all is wave motion, so it seems that in all branches of industry, alternating currents -- electric wave motion -- will have the sway.

--Nikola Tesla

Misunderstandings are always caused by the inability of appreciating one another's point of view... The best way is to dispel ignorance of the doings of others by a systematic spread of general knowledge. With this object in view, it is most important to aid exchange of thought and intercourse.

--Nikola Tesla

The newspapers of the twenty-first century will give a mere 'stick' in the back pages to accounts of crime or political controversies, but will headline on the front pages the proclamation of a new scientific hypothesis.

--Nikola Tesla

Science is but a perversion of itself
unless it has as its ultimate goal
the betterment of humanity.

--Nikola Tesla

Electrical science has revealed to us the true nature of light, has provided us with innumerable appliances and instruments of precision, and has thereby vastly added to the exactness of our knowledge.

--Nikola Tesla

When wireless is perfectly applied the whole earth will be converted into a huge brain, which in fact it is, all things being particles of a real and rhythmic whole. We shall be able to communicate with one another instantly, irrespective of distance.

--Nikola Tesla

It seems that I have always been ahead of my time. I had to wait nineteen years before Niagara was harnessed by my system, fifteen years before the basic inventions for wireless which I gave to the world in 1893 were applied universally.

--Nikola Tesla

Woman will ignore precedent and startle civilization with their progress.

--Nikola Tesla

My Mother had taught me to seek all truth in the Bible.

--Nikola Tesla

My belief is firm in a law of compensation. The true rewards are ever in proportion to the labour and sacrifices made.

--Nikola Tesla

Longer Version:

My belief is firm in a law of compensation. The true rewards are ever in proportion to the labor and sacrifices made. This is one of the reasons why I feel certain that of all my inventions, the Magnifying Transmitter will prove most important and valuable to future generations. I am prompted to this prediction not so much by thoughts of the commercial and industrial revolution which it will surely bring about, but of the humanitarian consequences of the many achievements it makes possible. Considerations of mere utility weigh little in the balance against the higher benefits of civilization.


In a crystal we have clear evidence of the existence of a formative life principle, and though we cannot understand the life of a crystal, it is nonetheless a living being.

--Nikola Tesla

Each day we go to our work in the hope of discovering.

--Nikola Tesla

The desire that guides me in all I do is the desire to harness the forces of nature to the service of mankind.

--Nikola Tesla

I have always been ahead of my time.

--Nikola Tesla

The idea came like a flash of lightning and in an instant the truth was revealed.

--Nikola Tesla

It's not the love you make. It's the love you give.

--Nikola Tesla

Inventors don't have time for married life.

--Nikola Tesla

If you only knew the magnificence of the 3, 6 and 9, then you would have the key to the universe.

--Nikola Tesla

I am even grateful to Einstein and others because through their erroneous theories they lead mankind away from that dangerous path I followed.

--Nikola Tesla

We all make mistakes, and it is better to make them before we begin.

--Nikola Tesla

What one man calls God, another calls the laws of physics.

--Nikola Tesla

Anti-social behavior is a trait of intelligence in a world full of conformists.

--Nikola Tesla

Of all things, I liked books best.

--Nikola Tesla

Longer Version:

Of all things I liked books best. My father had a large library and whenever I could manage I tried to satisfy my passion for reading.



Man, like the universe, is a machine. Nothing enters our minds or determines our actions which is not directly or indirectly a response to stimuli beating upon our sense organs from without.

--Nikola Tesla

The opinion of the world does not affect me. I have placed as the real values in my life what follows when I am dead.

--Nikola Tesla

No free energy device will ever be allowed to reach the market.

--Nikola Tesla

There is no energy in matter other than that received from the environment.

--Nikola Tesla

By an irony of fate, my first employment was as a draughtsman. I hated drawing; it was for me the very worst of annoyances. Fortunately, it was not long before I secured the position I sought, that of chief electrician to the telephone company.

--Nikola Tesla

The day science begins to study non-physical phenomena, it will make more progress in one decade than in all the previous centuries of its existence.

--Nikola Tesla

The harness of waterfalls is the most economical method known for drawing energy from the sun.

--Nikola Tesla

Perhaps I failed, but I did my best, These masters of mine may do the rest.

--Nikola Tesla

My brain is only a receiver, in the Universe.

--Nikola Tesla

Longer Version:

My brain is only a receiver, in the Universe there is a core from which we obtain knowledge, strength and inspiration. I have not penetrated into the secrets of this core, but I know that it exists.


But instinct is something which transcends knowledge. We have, undoubtedly, certain finer fibers that enable us to perceive truths when logical deduction, or any other willful effort of the brain, is futile.

--Nikola Tesla

Our entire biological system, the brain, and the Earth itself, work on the same frequencies.

--Nikola Tesla

The progressive development of man is vitally dependent on invention.

--Nikola Tesla

Longer Version:

The progressive development of man is vitally dependent on invention. It is the most important product of his creative brain.


It is not in the shallow physical imitation of men that women will assert first their equality and later their superiority, but in the awakening of the intellect of women.

--Nikola Tesla

I am filled with conviction that the interests of humanity would be best served if the United States remained true to its traditions and kept out of entangling alliances.

--Nikola Tesla

Our senses enable us to perceive only a minute portion of the outside world.

--Nikola Tesla

Longer Version:

Our senses enable us to perceive only a minute portion of the outside world. Our hearing extends to a small distance. Our sight is impeded by intervening bodies and shadows. To know each other we must reach beyond the sphere of our sense perceptions. We must transmit our intelligence, travel, transport the materials and transfer the energies necessary for our existence.


Though free to think and act, we are held together, like the stars in the firmament, with ties inseparable. These ties cannot be seen, but we can feel them.

--Nikola Tesla

This work somehow awakened my dormant powers of will and I began to practice self-control. At first my resolutions faded like snow in April, but in a little while I conquered my weakness and felt a pleasure I never knew before -- that of doing as I willed.

--Nikola Tesla

I constructed a laboratory in the neighborhood of Pike's Peak. The conditions in the pure air of the Colorado Mountains proved extremely favorable for my experiments, and the results were most gratifying to me.

--Nikola Tesla

Soon became convinced I was right and undertook the task with all the fire and boundless confidence of youth.

--Nikola Tesla

To know each other we must reach beyond the sphere of our sense perceptions.

--Nikola Tesla

The mind is sharper and keener in seclusion and uninterrupted solitude.

--Nikola Tesla

Longer Version:

The mind is sharper and keener in seclusion and uninterrupted solitude. Originality thrives in seclusion free of outside influences beating upon us to cripple the creative mind. Be alone that is the secret of invention: be alone, that is when ideas are born.


If your hate could be turned into electricity, it would light up the whole world.

--Nikola Tesla

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