Why Nikola Tesla was the greatest geek ever

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The Geek Madness champ.

Earlier today, GeekWire readers crowned Nikola Tesla as the Geek Madness champion after he trounced Linus Torvalds in the finals.

We wanted to get a little more insight into Tesla and there are few better people to ask than Marc Seifer, a respected editor, professor and author of Wizard: The Life and Times of Nikola Tesla: Biography of a Genius

After letting him know that Tesla was the Geek Madness champion, here’s what Seifer told us about the man he’s studied for nearly four decades:

On the one hand, how can I not be amazed. When I began Wizard: The Life and Times of Nikola Tesla, the year was 1976 and Tesla’s name had completely dropped off the map. The only source of information on him at that time was from a UFO organization. That’s where I got his book of patents. Once I realized that he was the real deal, namely that he was indeed the primary inventor behind the induction motor, our hydroelectric power system, fluorescent and neon lights, wireless communication, remote control, robotics, cell phone technology and particle beam weapons, I knew that I was sitting on the greatest story ever.

What really intrigued me was that Tesla was not some obscure inventor living in the woods out in, say Utah, no, he was a STAR of the Gilded Age, living at the height of the Gay Nineties in the Waldorf Astoria and counting among his friends such luminaries as Mark Twain, Rudyard Kipling, John Jacob Astor and J. Pierpont Morgan, two of the richest men in the world who funded his research, Stanford White, Tesla’s architect, designer of Wardenclyffe, Tesla’s wireless tower, and also designer of the original Madison Square Garden, which at the time, in 1890, was the tallest and most beautiful building in New York City, Mary Mapes Dodge author of Hans Brinker, Ignace Paderewski, the greatest pianist and later day Prime Minister of Poland, Robert Underwood Johnson, editor of Century Magazine and his alluring wife Katharine, presidents such as Teddy Roosevelt and his cousin Franklin Roosevelt and colleagues as George Westinghouse, who backed Tesla, and competitors Guglielmo Marconi and Thomas Edison.
NY Times on Tesla

The New York Times reference on Encyclopedia Britannica from 1992. “That’s when the tide started to turn from total obscurity to total Geek,” says Seifer.

 

Tesla was a headliner of the day, often making the front page of the New York Times or the New York Sun, and on top of that, he had those amazing and campy photos of him surrounded by lightning such as at his laboratories on East Houston Street in New York City or out at Colorado Springs where he as sending impulses around the world as early as 1899.

Tesla began to catch the public eye in the early 1990’s, when the Encyclopedia Britannica placed him in the TOP TEN PEOPLE that researchers were interested in, along with JFK, Elvis and Jesus and then again in the year 2000 when Time/Life listed Tesla as one of the 100 most important people of the last 1,000 years.

The coup de grace for me was when the Oatmeal Website joined our efforts to save Wardenclyffe, the site of Tesla’s amazing wireless tower and laboratory which was still standing out on Long Island. We needed One Million Dollars, and once the site went live, last year, 33,000 people from over 100 countries raised the funds in less than two weeks!

My favorite quote of Tesla’s is from 1904 whereby he envisions what becomes the Internet. Tesla writes that once his World Wireless System is in operation, “the entire earth will be converted into a brain as it were, capable of response in everyone of its parts.” This quote not only envisions a world wide instantaneously interconnected communication system, but also this would be a path to world peace, because all humans will be so much closer to one another.

One last point is that Tesla’s work is not done. I have recently written another book entitled Transcending the Speed of Light, whereby I explore Tesla’s little known work on his “dynamic theory of gravity” which, as it turns out, sheds light on what today is called the God Particle, the particle that gives matter its mass and on Einstein’s dream of what he called “Grand Unification” the way to combine gravity with electromagnetism. In a nutshell, Tesla’s theory was that matter is absorbing ether all the time. This process helps maintain elementary particle spin while also converting this ongoing influx (gravity) into electromagnetism. So Tesla still has many secrets to impart. His invention of the hydroelectric power system is the single most important creation responsible for slowing down global warming because it is renewable and does not pollute the environment.

Tesla’s accomplishments and vision simply takes one’s breath away, and so on some level, as a person who has devoted the last 37 years to studying his life and accomplishments, I am humbled and very happy that he has won this enormous honor.

Learn more about Seifer’s work at his personal website.

Previously on GeekWire: Geek Madness: Nikola Tesla named greatest geek ever after trouncing Torvalds

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bryan-C-Winter/1764558026 Bryan C. Winter

    Global warming wasn’t even a thing in the guided age. So while technically true, Tesla did not predict global warming, and so did not design hydro electric as a solution to it.

    • Daniel Burke

      You have been schooled.

      “But we shall not satisfy ourselves simply with improving steam and explosive engines or inventing new batteries; we have something much better to work for, a greater task to fulfill. We have to evolve means for obtaining energy from stores which are forever inexhaustible, to perfect methods which do not imply consumption and waste of any material whatever. Upon this great possibility, upon this great problem, the practical solution of which means so much for humanity, I have myself concentrated my efforts for a number of years, and a few happy ideas which came to me have inspired me to attempt the most difficult, and given me strength and courage in adversity.”

      http://www.teslauniverse.com/nikola-tesla-article-the-age-of-electricity

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003680906176 Chi Sam

    The legacy of Nikola Tesla suffers from ‘Ron Paul Syndrome’ wherein the negative connotations largely stem from the examination of his more loopy supporters and he is defined by what his self-anointed fringe supporters say and do as much as he is own words and works.

    Only through a successful discrediting of the whack-jobs that make Youtube their soapbox, will a realistic picture of Tesla be allowed to be shown.

    Too bad that will never happen…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003680906176 Chi Sam

    The legacy of Nikola Tesla suffers from ‘Ron Paul Syndrome’ wherein the negative connotations largely stem from the examination of his more loopy supporters and he is defined by what his self-anointed fringe supporters say and do as much as he is his own words and works.

    Only through a successful discrediting of the whack-jobs that make Youtube their soapbox, will a realistic picture of Tesla be allowed to be shown.

    Too bad that will never happen…

    • Hurricanesurfers

      Never use the great name of Nikola Tesla , in the same sentence with the name of a smarmy politician , it’s sacrilege !

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1078695333 David Kopp

      Ron Paul is a lunatic even without his supporters. He has some valid ideas, but not enough of them to overcome his crazy. Tesla was the other way around… his valid ideas FAR outweighed his crazy.

  • Hurricane Surfers

    (Chi Sam)-Never use the great name of Nikola Tesla , in the same sentence with the name of a smarmy politician , it’s sacrilege !

  • http://www.facebook.com/tim.eaton.984 Tim Eaton