Nikola Tesla

(Auto)Biography Project by Elliot Phillips

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Important Dates

Throughout his life, Tesla never had children of even married, so there were very few important dates that affected his life heavily.

Birth - 1856

Became a US citizen - 1891

Began work with Thomas Edison - 1882 (from France)

Created his own company - 1886

Tesla coil patenting - 1891

Last patent (biplane design) - 1928

Death - 1943

What Makes Him Interesting

Nikola Tesla is interesting because he seems to have a reversed fame effect. In his time, he was largely little-known, but as time passed, he seems to have become more and more of a household-name. His rivalry with Thomas Edison is appealing because Edison seemed to be a little stubborn, not eager to master new technologies (such as alternating-current electricity). He was determined to prove that his ways were more efficient than Tesla's. Tesla had a very "determined" personality, too, but not in the same way. For example, he once spent several years invested in disproving a comment that his professor made about AC versus direct current power generators, and whether a converter is needed. (Wizard 16) At the end, he was successful, which brings another point: Tesla tried hard to meet his goals and shows that success is possible.

His Effect on the World

Even now, long after his death, people are amazed that Tesla was so ahead of his time. He helped squeeze much of society into a new, more advanced era, and with little recognition. Much like Thomas Edison, he shot out patents and inventions like a teenager shoots out ignorant insults (that is, daily). He was a symbol of technology and electricity and how, even if you think you've discovered it all, there's more to be known. A simple online search of the phrase "Tesla coil" will give you millions of results, mostly about the US patent #454,622. Today, people mostly use it for fun, but it's still a major contribution Nikola Tesla has made for affecting or changing the world around him, even if it was just a little bit. Overall, most of his worldly effects could (and can) be found in his patents and inventions.


If I had to squeeze all of his greatness into some words, I'd probably choose sharp, intelligent, innovative, non-romantic, and just good-ol' awesome. "Why?" some punk in the corner asks... Well, I'll tell you why, punk!

Sharp - Have you seen his clothes? We're going into Barney Stinson mode with this one and never leave the house without wearing a suit. I just find that idea to be brilliant.

Intelligent - Not really an opinion, but a fact; his IQ, had he taken a test, would've been well over genius level today.

Innovative - Sort of an opinion, but it's supported because of the fact that he had over 200 patents.

Non-romantic - If there was a hint of love in his life, it would've been shown in the biography. He never even married!

Awesome - All of these qualities and more form the fifth listed adjective: awesomeness. I mean, even his name, "Tesla", is awesome! I mean, just think. Based on the description I've given you so far, I'm sure you've already figured out how awesome he is.

Events and Obstacles

Tesla was struck with illnesses many times throughout his life, with one or two of them even staying for the rest of his life. One major illness, though it wasn't said which, hit Tesla and enormous odds of death conflicted with his plans. This was at the same time as his goal to prove his old professor wrong; seemingly, his passion to reach that goal burned through the illness's passion to kill him, and he survived nonetheless. Ignoring this obstacle, he also had many business competitors who disliked his not-so business-like and naive idea to provide a source of free energy for the whole world. They prevented him from that goal, but not from many others. Overall, he was able to overcome many mishaps and speed bumps in his highway to greatness.