Nikola Tesla

What Does Nikola Tesla Mean?

Nikola Tesla (1856–1943) was a Serbian-American scientist and inventor whose expertise in design and engineering for electrical and technological systems has won him an ongoing legacy in today’s relatively high-tech world.


Techopedia Explains Nikola Tesla

Nikola Tesla worked on certain types of technologies related to the development of modern electrical systems, for example, he is credited with the creation of polyphase alternating current systems. In addition to pioneering various types of electrical designs that are used in today’s systems, Tesla was also known to have been working on other alternative technologies, some of which are only now being realized. One is Tesla’s contributions to the idea of the induction motor, which is just now starting to be used as part of the design for wireless device charging. There were also speculations that Tesla had worked on designs for vehicles running on non-fossil fuel forms of energy. Other Tesla inventions include the Tesla coil, a resonant transformer circuit that allowed Tesla to experiment with things like X-ray generation and wireless electrical transfer. Tesla also invented an electric oscillator, colloquially called “Tesla’s earthquake machine,” which preceded steam turbines as steam-powered generators.

Tesla was also known for his problematic relationship with Thomas Edison, another major inventor of that time. Although Tesla initially worked for Edison, the two became adversaries later. For example, Tesla fans might focus on whether Tesla had plans for a water or hydrogen engine, and whether Edison’s aggression led to the “loss” of these types of models.

Although long dead, Tesla still enjoys a vibrant legacy. For example, contemporary cartoonist Matthew Inman features homage to Tesla in some of his visual and graphic design work. In fact, Inman went so far as to spearhead a successful crowdsourced campaign to make a former Tesla research site into a museum to honor the inventor.

Other modern allusions to Tesla involve naming: for example, Elon Musk, arguably one of the greatest entrepreneurs of this generation, chose to put Tesla’s name on his popular electric car, making Tesla a household name.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…