Brilliant, but still human: 5 myths about Nicola Tesla, which have nothing to do with reality
Nikola Tesla was undoubtedly one of the greatest inventors in the history of science. However, his merits have recently been so hyperbolized that it is already difficult to understand which ones are true. Most of the myths about Tesla appeared during the life of an outstanding Serb. Moreover, the scientist himself never prevented this, but on the contrary - deliberately enveloped his person with a halo of mystery.
1. Alternating current
Alternating current. | Photo: LiveJournal.
This is probably the biggest myth about Tesla, which most people mistake for absolute truth. Although a Serbian scientist was a key figure in improving and disseminating AC, this type of electricity was invented long before Tesla’s birth. In fact, the French engineer Ippolit Pixie became the discoverer of AC. In 1832, he developed a simple hand-held alternator based on the principle of Faraday’s electromagnetic induction. By the 1870s, primitive two-phase alternators were used in Germany, and the Italian scientist Galileo Ferraris openly spoke about multiphase AC in 1885.
2. Induction coil
Induction coil. | Photo: Wikipedia.
Another common myth about Tesla, which can sometimes be found even in school physics textbooks. A Serbian scientist did create a device, partially based on the principles of induction, which he named in his honor, but initially it was not his idea. In fact, the induction coil is not the invention of Tesla or even Heinrich Rumkorf, but the talented engineer Nicholas Callan. According to Novate.ru, early induction coils were the first prototypes of transformers and were used in X-ray machines, spark-discharge radio transmitters, and other devices from 1880 to 1920.
Transformer. | Photo: Pikabu.
And miss again. In 1876, Russian scientist Pavel Yablochkov received a patent for the world's first open-core transformer. The very first closed-core transformers were developed in England in 1884 by the Hopkins brothers. At this time, Tesla was still in school and did not even begin his first work in the field of telephony. It is likely that while working in Budapest in the 1880s, the scientist drew attention to these developments, which subsequently formed the basis of the Tesla transformer, patented in 1896.
Tesla radio installation. | Photo: Pikabu.
Another common myth is that Tesla discovered the radio. In fact, regardless of Guglielmo Marconi, the Serb in 1896 developed a device for wireless communication, which he patented in 1897. Despite this, Marconi ultimately received the Nobel Prize. The U.S. later revoked Tesla's own patents, which led to a large legal proceeding that lasted until the 1940s. Today, Tesla is considered the official inventor of radio in America. But do not forget that physicist Alexander Popov successfully demonstrated a working radio a year before Marconi and Tesla, in 1895. But all their work, including Popov, would be impossible without the contribution of many other scientists.
Radar of Robert Watson-Watt. | Photo: Wikipedia.
Many also claim that Nikola Tesla invented the radar. But the truth is not as clear as it seems at first glance. A radar station in itself would not have existed without the revolutionary work of the German physicist Heinrich Hertz. He demonstrated the behavior of electromagnetic waves in the late 1880s, thereby confirming the theory of James Maxwell of the 1860s. German inventor Christian Hulsmeyer in the early 1900s demonstrated in Germany and the Netherlands the principle of using radio waves to detect ships. Sir Robert Watson-Watt designed the first radar station in 1935. She worked at a frequency of 6 MHz and had a range of less than 13 km.
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