A brief survey of Tesla's Accomplishments


Rodger Herbst BAAE, ME


Version 2 June  2007


150 year anniversary

The 150th anniversary of Nikola Tesla (July 9/July 10, 1856 - January 7, 1943) was formally celebrated  in his homeland, Croatia, in 2005 [1] 


His birthday was also celebrated in Vancouver BC in November 2006. Events included an international symposium at Simon Fraser University, a gala banquet, and a tribute ceremony at the Serbian Culture Center.  A Tesla Exhibition from Belgrade Serbia was presented at the BC Hydro building in downtown Vancouver, and theatrical events were offered.



Nikola Tesla was Born July 10 1856 in Smiljan Austria; today the Republic of Croatia.

As a child, Tesla had “out of body” experiences: “Blurred [at fist] … I would [see] on my journeys new places, cities and countries- live there, meet people and make friendships… and however unbelievable, it is a fact that they were just as dear to me as those in actual life and not a bit less intense in their manifestations”.  His thoughts  were often interrupted by annoying flashes of light. [2]


In Europe

Tesla studied mechanical and electrical engineering  at the Austrian Polytechnic School at Graz. In 1882, one of his Professors displayed and demonstrated a Gramme Dynamo, which could be used as both a motor and direct current generator.  Tesla believed the sparking commutators could be eliminated, and voiced his opinion.  The professor replied that it would be similar to building a perpetual motion machine, and humiliated Tesla in class. Tesla became obsessed with proving his professor wrong. [3] A few months later, while on a walk in a park, “the truth was suddenly revealed”, as Tesla drew, with a stick in the sand, the diagrams that he would present to the American Institute of Electrical Engineers six years later. [4] Although he was not the first to conceive of the rotating magnetic field, [5] he discovered how to effectively harness this field. Seifer notes, Before his invention, electricity could be transmitted about a mile, and used for lighting. After Tesla, electrical POWER could be transmitted hundreds of miles, for any purpose. [6]


Later in 1882 Tesla moved to Paris to work as an engineer for the Continental Edison Company, designing improvements to electric equipment. In 1884, Tesla accepted a job with the Edison Company in New York City, and moved to the US.


Skirmishes with Business

For the duration of 1884, Tesla worked for  Edison in Menlo Park. He reassembled many of Edison’s generators, and designed 24 different types of machines that became standards and replaced those being used by Edison. According to Tesla’s commentary, “ The manager promised me fifty thousand dollars [for redesigning equipment], but when I demanded payment, he merely laughed. ‘You are still a Parisian,’ remarked Edison. ‘When you become a full-fledged American, you will appreciate an American joke.’”[7]

In 1886, Tesla agreed to form the Tesla Electric Light & Manufacturing Company, based on an agreement with two businessmen, B.A. Vail, and Robert Lane. As a part of the agreement, Tesla toiled for nearly a year to complete installation of a municipal arc-lighting system for Rahway N.J. The system worked successfully. Vail and Lane rejected Tesla’s plan for an alternating current motor and forced him out of his own business.  Tesla worked in New York as a common laborer the following year, just to survive. [8]

Despite its advantages in long distance power transmission, Edison resisted the adoption of AC power. In a series of corporate skirmishes, and in conjunction with the Westinghouse Corporation, Tesla locked horns with Thomas Edison, Edison Electric,  and  J Pierpont Morgan, in  what came to be known as the “war of the currents”, AC vs. DC.  In December 1888, Edison launched a propaganda battle against Westinghouse in an attempt to discredit Alternating current. He set up shows in which animals were electrocuted  using AC, explaining the animals had been  “Westinghoused.” [9]


In 1891, Westinghouse worked with Edison financial backer Henry Villard, (who added small companies to Edison Electric to form Edison General electric) to arrange a possible merger. JP Morgan noted Thomson-Houston, a smaller company, had better finances, so he had them buy out Edison Electric to form General Electric (GE).


Tesla was ignored by GE; he was not given credit for his inventions, and  his name became virtually unknown. Westinghouse, as well as Edison, lost millions in court battles, and ultimately the court favored Edison over Westinghouse in priority of invention of the light bulb. In 1897 Tesla, in a magnanimous gesture,  released Westinghouse from  providing him contractual AC motor royalties.


Alternating Current Power Transmission


Tesla used his rotating magnetic field principle to invent the induction motor, and the accompanying alternating current long-distance electrical transmission system.  In 1887,  he  “constructed the initial brushless alternate-current induction motor.”  In the same year, he developed the principles of his Tesla coil and began working with George Westinghouse at Westinghouse's Pittsburgh labs. Westinghouse listened to his ideas for polyphase systems which would allow transmission of AC electricity over large distances.” [10]


On May 15 1888 Tesla appeared before the American Institute of Electrical Engineers (AIEE) to read his landmark paper: A New Alternating Current Motor. The primary advantage of AC was that it could be transmitted long distances with little power loss. DC was only able to be transmitted very short distances. Tesla’s patents and theoretical work still form the basis for modern alternating current electric power systems.


“On July 30, 1891, Tesla became a naturalized citizen of the United States and established his Houston Street laboratory in New York. He lit vacuum tubes wirelessly , providing evidence for the potential of wireless power transmission. “ [11]

The 1893 World's Fair, the World Columbian Exposition in Chicago, was the first exposition to devote an entire building to electrical exhibits.  Tesla’s system of alternating current was used by Westinghouse  to light the entire exposition. In protest, Edison would not allow use of any of his light bulbs for this event, so Westinghouse had to use  inferior Sawyer-Mann Stopper lamps. [12]

In 1894,  the International Niagara Commission was formed to select the company to harness  the power of Niagara Falls. The Commission was headquartered in London,  and chaired by Sir William Thompson (Lord Kelvin).


Tesla competitors such as  GE’s  Elihu Thomson and Charles Steinmetz recognized that AC power transmission was superior to DC. They became desperate to enter  competition for the contract to harness the falls , and knew that Tesla, working for Westinghouse, held the competitive edge on AC. Westinghouse blueprints went missing,  and GE was accused of industrial espionage. When the missing papers were found at Thomson’s Lynn Plant, GE officials claimed their interest was in determining if Westinghouse was pirating their protected light bulbs. [13]


Primarily because of the World’s Fair success, the Westinghouse corporation  was selected for the Niagara project. Since patents for  numerous inventions needed to implement the Niagara power plant were owned by Tesla, he became an international figure. His associates included Edison, Edward Dean Adams, George Westinghouse, Lord Kelvin,  Stanford White, John Muir, Mark Twain, J Pierpoint Morgan, and John Jacob Astor. He also befriended Century Magazine editor Robert Underwood Johnson.”


Seifer notes: “In 1894, Tesla hit his stride…That year would find features on Tesla in such prestigious periodicals as New Science Review, Outlook, and Cassiers; McClures and Review of Reviews boldly announced that Tesla was the founder of the discoveries which lay behind ‘the largest electrical enterprise in the world,’ and the New York Times profiled him in a four-column spread complete with a large stylized portrait and an in-depth account of his philosophies and newest creations” [14]


High Frequency and High Voltage


“From 1893 to 1895, Tesla investigated high frequency alternating currents. He generated AC of one million volts using a conical Tesla coil and investigated the skin effect in conductors, designed tuned circuits, invented a machine for inducing sleep, cordless gas discharge lamps, and transmitted electromagnetic energy without wires, effectively building the first radio transmitter.” [15]


He delivered a series of lecture- demonstrations at Columbia College, London and Paris, that made him famous. Seifer  notes of the June 1891 Columbia College lecture: “It is difficult to calculate the enormous impact  that this lecture had on the engineers of the day and on the course of Tesla’s life…Robert Millikan, who later won a Nobel prize for his work with cosmic rays, was a graduate student at Columbia at the time. He said many years later ‘I have done no small fraction of my research work with the aid of principles I learned that night.’” [16] Demonstrations included passing high frequency high voltage (but low current) electricity through his body to counter the Edison induced accusation that Alternating Current was more dangerous than Direct Current.


A similar lecture was given in London,  Feb 3, 1892, under the title Experiments with Alternating Currents of high Potential and High Frequency.      

Edison did not invent the light bulb,  but took years to develop a long-lasting carbon filament in his Direct Current system.  Tesla found however, that with alternating current,  if the voltage and frequency are high enough, no filament is needed. This is the principle of the fluorescent light bulb. In a fluorescent light, low-pressure mercury vapor is ionized, which then emits ultraviolet light. The inside of a fluorescent light is coated with a phosphor, which accepts  the energy of ultraviolet energy and emits visible photons. The light we see from a fluorescent tube is the light given off by the phosphor that coats the inside of the tube. Tesla also experimented with neon lights. Inside the glass tube of a neon light there is an inert or noble gas like neon, argon or krypton at low pressure. When a high voltage is applied to the electrodes inside the light, the neon gas ionizes,  producing electrons that excite the neon and cause it to emit light that we can see. Neon emits red light. Other gases emit other colors.


Much of the rest of his work was in the area of high frequency high voltage electricity.


The wireless

“Tesla was developing a system for wireless telegraphy, telephony and the transmission of power, experimented with high-voltage electricity and the possibility of wireless transmitting and distributing large amounts of electrical energy over long distances. He also conceived a system for geophysical exploration--seismology--which he called telegeodynamics, based on his reciprocating mechanical oscillator patented in 1894, and explained that a long sequence of small explosions could be used to find ore and create earthquakes large enough to destroy the Earth. He did not experiment with this as he felt there would not be "a desirable outcome"” [17]

In Feb 1893, Tesla gave a lecture at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, in which he gave his first description of wireless: “ I believe it is practicable to disturb by means of powerful machines the electrostatic conditions of earth and thus transmit intelligible signals and perhaps power.  “Theoretically, it would not require a great amount of energy to produce a disturbance perceptible at a great distance, or even all over the surface of the globe”  Tesla commented that there was such opposition to his discussion of wireless telegraphy that only this one remark earned him the title “father of wireless” [18]


Radio and radio control

The question of who invented radio is complex. Experiments in wireless can be traced back to 1842, when Joseph Henry transmitted electrical energy across a 30 foot room between magnetized needles and leyden jars. In 1847, Samuel Morris sent messages across an 80 ft wide canal  using “current leakage.” Mahlon Loomis transmitted messages over long distances using aerials and a ground connection. In the early 1880s, William Preece, an electrical engineer for the British Post Office, began directing experiments in wireless communication by means of an inductive apparatus. He was probably also the first inventor to realize that the earth itself is an integral component in the implementation of any wireless system. [19] In the mid 1880s, Edison invented the “grasshopper telegraph,  By means of induction or resonance,  a metal strip attached to a telephone receiver on a moving railroad car would send or receive messages from a similar strip hung parallel to the track at the train station. Other precursors include Crooks, Heinrich Hertz, Oliver Lodge, and Edward Branly. During his speech in Philadelphia, Tesla introduced the concept of using both an aerial and ground, and a single wire as a return for operation of all kinds of devises.


Reginald Fessenden is generally credited with having invented the means of sending voice over the airwaves. Although Marconi was using discontinuous impulse signals, “It occurred to Fessenden to send out a continuous signal with the amplitude of the waves modulated”  to correspond to the sound waves; i.e., an electrical signal of the same frequency and amplitude as the sound is superimposed on the continuous carrier wave. Later, the carrier wave is subtracted out to leave the electrical wave, which is then converted back into sound. In 1906, the first such Amplitude Modulated (AM) message was sent out from the Massachusetts coast, and wireless receivers could actually pick up the music. In this way, radio as we know it, was born. [20]A dispute of patent priority arose between Fessenden and Tesla. A series of hearings resulted in Tesla receiving priority. As an aside, in the 1930s, the American radio engineer Edwin Howard Armstrong noticed that by varying frequency rather than amplitude,  stations could avoid the interference that often corrupted AM transmissions. FM radio was born. On June 21, 1943,  the United States Supreme Court ruled that that Tesla's radio patents had also predated those of Marconi and the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Co.


One of Tesla’s major inventions, in terms of ingenuity, originality, and complexity of design was a remote (radio) controlled robotic boat which he called the telautomaton, displayed in 1892. [21]   Precursors could be traced to 1892.


“When Tesla was 41 years old, he filed the first basic radio patent (No. US645576). A year later, he demonstrated a remote controlled boat to the US military, believing that the military would want things such as radio-guided torpedoes. In 1898 a radio controlled boat was also demonstrated to the public during an electrical exhibition at Madison Square Garden. These devices had an innovative coherer and a series of logic gates. The military rejects Tesla’s Radio remote control devises, and it remained a novelty until the Space Age.” [22]


Wireless power

Tesla dreamed of supplying limitless amounts of power freely and equally available to all, and he was convinced he could do so by broadcasting electrical power across large distances just as radio transmits far smaller amounts of energy..


Over four thousand people attended his April 6 1897 Lecture to the public at the New York Academy of Sciences. His World Telegraphy System  finally came into clear focus. His plan was to disturb the electrical capacity of the earth with giant  Tesla Oscillators, and thus use the earth currents themselves as carrier waves for his transmitter. Tesla described the process as analogous to  a hollow rubber ball filled with water, and to which are attached tubes with plungers. The remaining plungers will vibrate up and down in answer to every movement of any one plunger.   The water corresponds to  “terrestrial” or telluric  currents, and the plungers refer to transmitters and receivers. Seifer notes that in his 1896-97 writings, Tesla has already conceived of a total plan for his WTS, using a number of different wireless modes; including upper air, mechanical resonance (telegeodynamics) and terrestrial currents.  [23]


Tesla believed that he could broadcast power by producing vibrations in the atmosphere that were perfectly in phase with the natural vibrations that exist in thunderstorms. Anyone with a receiver could simply tap into broadcasts and acquire electricity just as they receive radio or TV broadcasts


Colorado Springs


“In 1899, Tesla decided to move and began research in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where he could have room for his high-voltage high-frequency experiments. He chose this location primarily because of the frequent thunderstorms, the high altitude (where the air, being at a lower pressure, had a lower dielectric breakdown strength, making it easier to ionize), and the dryness of the air (minimizing leakage of electric charge through insulators). Also, the property was free and electric power available from the El Paso Power Company. Today, magnetic intensity charts also show that the ground around his lab possesses a denser magnetic field than the surrounding area. Tesla reached Colorado Springs on May 17, 1899.”  

Tesla stated that the main reason for the Colorado Springs experiments of 1899 was “to produce a resonant transformer which would be capable of disturbing the electrical condition of [of part] if not the entire globe… thus enabling me to transmit intelligence to great distances without wire.”  

Tesla became the first man to create electrical effects on the scale of lightning.  “The lab possessed the largest Tesla Coil ever built, fifty-two feet (16 m) in diameter, known as the Magnifying Transmitter (further MT). Not identical to a classic Tesla Coil, it was a three-coil magnifying system requiring different forms of analysis than lumped-constant coupled resonant coils presently described to most. It resonated at a natural quarter wavelength frequency and could work in a continuous-wave mode and in a partially damped-wave resonant mode. According to accounts, Tesla used it to transmit tens of thousands of watts of power wirelessly; it could generate millions of volts of electricity and produce lightning bolts more than one-hundred feet (30 m) long. Tesla posted a large fence around it with a sign "Keep Out - Great Danger".  [24]

The MT produced thunder which was heard as far away as Cripple Creek. People near the lab would observe sparks emitting from the ground to their feet and through their shoes. Some have observed electrical sparks from the fire hydrants (Tesla for a time grounded out to the plumbing of the city). The area around the laboratory would glow with a blue corona (similar to St. Elmo's Fire). “ [25]

Tuned circuits

Tesla also constructed many smaller resonance transformers and discovered the concept of tuned electrical circuits. He also developed a number of coherers for separating and perceiving electromagnetic waves and designed rotating coherers which he used to detect the unique types of electromagnetic phenomenon he observed. They had a mechanism of geared wheels driven by a coiled spring-drive mechanism which rotated small glass cylinders. These experiments were the final stage of years of work on synchronized tuned electrical circuits.

These transceivers were constructed to demonstrate how signals could be "tuned in". Tesla logged in his diary on July 3, 1899 that a separate resonance transformer tuned to the same high frequency as a larger high-voltage resonance transformer would transceive energy from the larger coil, acting as a transmitter of wireless energy, which was used to confirm Tesla's patent for radio during later disputes in the courts. These air core high-frequency resonator coils were the predecessors of systems from radio to radar and medical magnetic resonance imaging devices. [26]

Propagation and resonance

On July 3, 1899, Tesla discovered terrestrial stationary waves within the earth. He demonstrated that the Earth behaves as a smooth polished conductor and possesses electrical properties. He experimented with waves characterized by a lack of vibration at points, between which areas of maximum vibration occur periodically. These standing waves were produced by confining waves within constructed conductive boundaries. Tesla demonstrated that the Earth could respond at predescribed  electrical frequencies. At this time, Tesla realized that it was possible to transmit  power around the globe.

It is well documented (from various photos from the time) that he lit hundreds of lamps wirelessly at a distance of up to twenty-five miles (40 km). He transmitted signals several kilometers and lit neon tubes conducting through the ground. He researched ways to transmit energy wirelessly over long distances. He transmitted extremely low frequencies through the ground. Measurement of standing waveforms from electrical storms confirmed what he had suspected, that the earth had a resonant frequency  and could therefore be used as a wave carrier to transmit signals. He established that lightning storms as they swooped down the Rockies and then rumbled across the plains into Kansas were resonating at a frequency of 7.68 cycles per second, or “Hertz” (Hz) This natural phenomenon was rediscovered in the 1960s by researcher W.O. Schumann while working for the Navy on ways to broadcast nuclear war orders to submerged submarines.[27] Interestingly, 7.68 Hz is also the frequency of alpha waves in the human brain.

Extraterrestrial signals

In the Colorado Springs lab, Tesla recorded what he concluded were extraterrestrial radio signals and announced his findings in some of the scientific journals of the time. [5] His announcements and data were rejected by the scientific community who did not believe him. He notes measurements of repetitive signals from his receiver which are substantially different from the signals he had noted from storms and earth noise. Specifically, he later recalled that the signals appeared in groups of clicks 1, 2, 3, and 4 clicks together. He stated in the article "A Giant Eye to See Round the World", of February 25, 1923, that:

"Twenty-two years ago, while experimenting in Colorado with a wireless power plant, I obtained extraordinary experimental evidence of the existence of life on Mars. I had perfected a wireless receiver of extraordinary sensitiveness, far beyond anything known, and I caught signals which I interpreted as meaning 1--2--3--4. I believe the Martians used numbers for communication because numbers are universal."

Clearly, Tesla felt the signal groups originated on the planet Mars. In 1996 Corum and Corum published an analysis of Jovian plasma torus signals,  which suggested the signals Tesla noticed may have come from Jupiter. Tesla spent the latter part of his life trying to signal Mars. [28]

On January 7, 1900, Tesla left  Colorado Springs, and returned to New York. He failed again to interest the Department of the Navy in his “dirigible wireless torpedoes”, or small airships which could be controlled from the ground. [29]. That year he also wrote  a sensational article for the  Century,  which integrated  technology with his philosophical perspective, which had been influenced by Friedrich Nietzche and Arthur Schopenhauer, as well as by Eastern philosophers such as Swami Vivekananda “on the link between the soul and Godhead, Prana (life force) and Akasha (ether) and its equivalence to the universe, force and matter”  As Seifer notes, “Those who were Tesla supporters rallied around him… but those who were against him now had a new supply of ammunition for a frontal assault.” [30]



Based on his research in Colorado Springs, Tesla planned to erect a World Telegraphy Center on Long Island. The site was near Shoreham, and named Wardenclyffe, in honor of  the land owner. The project was initially funded by JP Morgan, and began in March of 1902.  Tesla however, did not pursue development of fluorescent lighting, as Morgan had requested, and also abandoned  the idea of a modest size transmitter in favor of a much larger system. Aside from this annoyance,  Morgan was concerned with Tesla’s desire to transmit “unlimited power”, which could hardly be profitable, and decided in October 1903 to do his best to ensure  Tesla’s defeat. Morgan refrained from further dealings with Tesla, who desperately but unsuccessfully tried to raise the necessary funds. The entire project was unfortunately abandoned. 


In a last ditch effort to save the project, Tesla wrote a six thousand word treatise, published in Electrical World & Engineer describing how the Wardenclyffe project, with its freely available energy,  might bring about universal peace. Following the murder of his close friend Stanford White, and the failure of Wardenclyffe, Tesla entered a private hell which resulted in a dysfunctional shift of his personality. [31]


On modern Physics and Exotic Technology

X-rays,  the “Death Ray”, Particle beams, Lasers,  HAARP, Weather control,  the Zero Point Field,  Swami Vivekananda  and Akasha


The Ether

In 1881, the Michaelson Morley experiment failed to detect the  “ether”, thought to be the medium conducting electromagnetic radiation in space. Einstein used this result to suggest that “the ether cannot be detected”[32] and also that it was unnecessary in explaining how light travels through space. Physics professor Edwin Gora, of Providence College, whose mentors included Werner Heisenberg, has stated that the ether could not be detected using 19th century techniques, and that Einstein had replaced the old ether with a new one which had unusual properties, such as  allowing space to curve around gravitational bodies. Tesla disagreed with Einstein, and never abandoned the concept of the ether. Light bent around stars and planets because of a force field. Gora agreed that the two concepts of curved space and force field may actually be two viable ways of describing the same thing. [33]



“In April 1887, Tesla began investigating what would later be called X-rays using his own single node vacuum tubes. This device differed from other early X-ray tubes in that they had no target electrode.” [34] With his apparatus, “effective pressures of about four million (4,000,000)  volts were achieved.”  Generating such high voltages, this work not only was set up to measure the quality of the energy emanating from the bulb and to test its ability to pierce living and non-living objects or be deflected; it also laid the foundation for Tesla’s later experiments with particle beam weapons. [35] “Roentgen gave us a wonderful gun to fire… projecting missiles of a thousand fold greater penetrative power than that of a cannon ball, and carrying them probably to distances of many miles… These missiles are so small that we may fire them through our tissues for days weeks and years , apparently without hurtful consequence” [36]


“By 1892, Tesla became aware of what Wilhelm Roentgen later identified as effects of X-rays”. He sent images of the bones of his hand to Roentgen, but didn't make his findings widely known. “Much of his research was lost in the 1895 Houston Street lab fire.” [37]


[might it not be possible] “that in the Roentgen phenomena we may witness a transformation of ordinary matter into ether? [or] we may be confronted with a dissolution of matter into some unknown primary form, the Akasa of the old Vedas” [38]



The Death Ray

Wireless energy beams, of course, could also be used as a weapon,  as well as to supply electricity. Seifer notes Tesla’s work with X-rays most likely provided a foundation for his later work on particle beam weapons. Tesla: “Roentgen gave us a wonderful gun to fire… projecting missiles of a thousand fold greater penetrative power than that of a cannon ball, and carrying them probably to distances of many miles…” [39]


Did Tesla actually build a prototype of the “Death Ray”?  According to Seifer, “we can trace the Tesla death ray to at least three earlier inventions: his Tesla coil and work in high frequency currents from the early 1890s, his work in bombarding targets with Roentgen rays in 1896, and his 1901 ideas associated with transmitting energy by beaming up an ionizing ray from his magnifying transmitter and using it as a conduit to reach the ionosphere. [HAARP] With this mechanism, Tesla planned not only to circle the globe with information but also to illuminate shipping lanes and control the weather.” [40]


“At the age of eighty-one, Tesla stated at a luncheon attended by ministers of Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia that he had constructed a number of beam transmission devices, including a death ray, for protecting a country from incoming invasions and a laser like machine that could send impulses to the moon and other planets.” [41]



Seifer notes Tesla’s experimental “button Lamps”  as precursors to the laser, and  notes the two types of modern lasers which correspond to Tesla’s work:: a ruby laser, which reflects energy back to its source, which in turn stimulates more atoms into emitting coherent radiation, and a gas laser, which consists of a tube filled with helium and neon, to which high voltage is applied. [42]


Star Wars

The Aug 10 1986 edition of  the Chicago Tribune notes: “And now, there are indications that Tesla also discovered many of the devices which the United States military-industrial complex is seeking to develop and build for the Pentagon's controversial Star Wars antimissile defense system.”


Seifer notes: that soon after Tesla’s death on January 7, 1943, the FBI Office of Alien Property (OAP) and factions of the War Department conspired to impound and protect the Tesla secret weaponry papers, and that a half a century later they have yet to release them. [43]


Seifer notes that  Tesla’s numerous inventions could be applied in a variety of ways for military purposes, for example particle beam weapons,  world wide radar,  earthquake contrivances, brain wave manipulation. According to Lt Col. Tom Bearden, the Tesla magnifying transmitter produced a fundamental one-point gravity vector(or electrostatic scalar wave)  that disturbs the very fabric of the space/time grid, and is therefore not bound by the speed of light. [s 461] Seifer notes this speculation is highly controversial, but notes that the May 2 1977 issue of Aviation Week published a seven-thousand-word article on Soviet particle-beam weapons. The  expose, which shook Washington, was also abstracted in Science. It contained a schematic  drawing of a particle beam weapon which bears a remarkable resemblance to Tesla’s then unpublished drawing made four decades earlier.” [44] Aviation Week also described the use of “young geniuses under  [the age of] 29 … located at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton Ohio, who were trying to conceive of a breakthrough in the technology”; and also , surprisingly, that  “the President [Jimmy Carter] was screened from vital technical developments by the …CIA and Defense Intelligence Agency.” The source was General George Keegen, former head of Air Force Intelligence. [45]


For these reasons, Seifer notes “Great support is lent to the conspiracy hypothesis that Tesla’s work and papers were systematically hidden from public view in order to protect the trail of this top-secret research, which is today known as Star Wars.” [46]


Zero Point Field

At the end of the Columbia lecture of May 1891, Tesla remarked “’…All around us everything is spinning, everything is moving, everywhere is energy.’  Based on this premise, Tesla ended with a prophetic supposition, which has often been interpreted by some to suggest that a zero point, or free energy strata exists. ‘There must be some way of availing ourselves of this energy directly,’ he said. ‘Then, with the light obtained through the medium, with the power derived from it, with every form of energy obtained without effort, from stores forever inexhaustible, humanity will advance with great strides.’” [47]



Miscellaneous inventions

Helicopter airplane, neon lights, x-ray generator, speedometer, pump, bladeless turbine,

“high frequency alternator, the "AND" logic gate, the Tesla coil, and spark plug.”


Over 700 patents.


Tesla Renaissance

A Tesla Renaissance began in 1970s; supported by a number of organizations, including Tesla Memorial Society, founded in 1979, and the International Tesla Society, founded in 1983. Both were sponsored by the prestigious International Institute of Electric Engineering (IIEE)


The Tesla Memorial Society, whose Executive Secretary,  William H. Terbo, is a relative of Tesla, continues to function. According to its charter, "The purpose of this Society is to honor and perpetuate the memory and ideals of the great scientist and inventor, Nikola Tesla, through appropriate academic conferences, scholarship awards, and various cultural activities.”  [49]


According to Michael Riversong, who acted as Master of Ceremonies for the Symposia and conferences,  the  focus of the International Tesla Society, [50]which was very active for 14 years, was investigation of lines of Tesla’s research which were never fully implemented. Unfortunately, but perhaps not surprisingly, the organization went bankrupt late in 1998 due to internal political struggles.  According to Riversong,  several important ideas emerged from the ITS activity. “First, it is clear that there is some form of energy existing in this universe which has not yet been adequately defined by conventional physics. Another is that even forms of energy which we currently use in many applications are not fully understood, and could probably be used in new types of devices which will be more efficient.” [51]



Biographical Websites






Prodigal Genius – the Life of Nikola Tesla – Inventor Extraordinary

 John O’Neil 1944

Tesla, Man Out of Time. Margaret Cheney Touchstone Simon & Shuster 1981, 2001

Wizard: The Life and Times of Nikola Tesla: Biography of a Genius Marc Seifer Citadel Press Kensington Publishers 1998

[Note: This book is highly recommended by the American Academy for the Advancement of Science]



PBS, Tesla, Master of Lightning



The New York Times archives boasts dozens of articles on and letters by Tesla.



[1] [November 17 2005:Newsgrist: Croatia to Mark Tesla's 150th Birthday ]


[2] Mark Seifer  Wizard: The Life and Times of Nikola Tesla: Biography of a Genius. Citadel Press 1996. p. 11.

[3] Ibid. p.16.

[4] Ibid. p. 22

[5] In 1824, a French astronomer, Francois Arago, experimented with spinning the arm of a magnet by using a copper disk. In 1824, Walter Baily demonstrated the principle of rotating magnetic fields before the Physical Society of London in 1879. See Seifer p 24.

[6] Seifer p. 26.

[7] Ibid. p. 39.

[8] Ibid. p. 41.

[9] Ibid. p. 56.

[10] http://www.crystalinks.com/tesla.html

[11] Ibid.

[12] Seifer  p. 119.

[13] Ibid p. 136.


[14] Ibid p. 137

[15] http://www.crystalinks.com/tesla.html

[16] Seifer p. 70-71

[17] http://www.crystalinks.com/tesla.html

[18]  Seifer p. 107.

[19] Ibid. p. 108.

[20] Ibid. p. 280

[21] Ibid. p. 192.

[22] http://www.crystalinks.com/tesla.html

[23] Ibid p. 189.

[24] Ibid.

[25] Ibid.

[26] Ibid.

[27] Toby Grotz. Chicago Tribune  Aug. 10 1986

[28] http://www.crystalinks.com/tesla.html

[29] Seifer p. 236.

[30] Ibid. p. 239-241

[31] Ibid. p. 323

[32] Ibid. p. 103

[33] Ibid. p. 102

[34] http://www.crystalinks.com/tesla.html


[35] Seifer p. 168.

[36] Ibid. p. 169.

[37] http://www.crystalinks.com/tesla.html

[38] Ibid. p. 168.

[39] Seifer p. 136.

[40] Ibid. p. 457.

[41] Ibid. p. 457.

[42] Ibid. p. 87.

[43] Ibid. p. 446.

[44] Ibid. p. 462.

[45] Ibid.

[46] Ibid.

[47] Ibid. p.71.

[48] http://www.crystalinks.com/tesla.html

[49] http://www.njarc.org/tms/

[50] For more information on the International Tesla Society, see http://home.earthlink.net/~rivedu/14tesla.html

[51] http://home.earthlink.net/~rivedu/14tesla.html