Saturday, December 15, 2012

No museum to honour Tesla in the United States? That's crazy!

"There is no Tesla museum in the United States, despite Tesla's extraordinary accomplishments."
Matthew Inman and colleagues have raised money to buy the land upon which genius Serbian-American electrical and mechanical engineer, physicist and inventor Nikola Tesla built his last laboratory, with the stated aim of eventually building a Tesla Museum on that site. We have Tesla to thank for the electrical system which is used all over the world, the system that powers my computer and probably your household. That is only one of the many hugely important inventions that were the creation of the enigmatic and under-recognized Tesla, who filed the first basic radio patent. I've read that Tesla also built and operated a quite dangerous earthquake machine, and was reputedly working on a death-ray machine. Haven't we all dreamed of inventing a death-ray machine? Well, Tesla was the type of genius who made impossible dreams happen.The unique and astoundingly clever Nikola Tesla is regarded as America’s greatest ever electrical engineer, but there is no Tesla Museum in the United States? WHAT? I know that Tesla is a national hero in the nation of his birth, Serbia, and his birthday is celebrated by Serbs all over the world, but that's Serbia. There needs to be a lasting monument to this amazing, world-changing synaesthete genius inventor of the modern world in the USA, and the UK and Australia. Unfortunately, it appears that the project that Inman's successful fundraising campaign has raised money for only includes plans for a Tesla exhibit within a regional technology and science centre named after Tesla, which is a great idea, but doesn't sound like quite the same thing as a Tesla museum. I understand that the whole thing is just a plan at this point in time, anyway. Tesla lives on in the hearts and minds of geeks, Serbs and somewhat cracked visionaries in every corner of the world. Make sure that your kids know who Tesla was!


Let's Build a Goddamn Tesla Museum. Indiegogo.
[this fund-raising campaign is now finished and was very successful]

Why Nikola Tesla was the greatest geek who ever lived. The Oatmeal.
[Read this, it's funny and probably true, except for the bit that says Tesla was insane. He wasn't insane and he didn't hallucinate, he was a genius synaesthete with an eidetic memory and hypersensitive senses, quite possibly Asperger syndrome and some OCD in later life. Thomas Edison was a c***!]

Thompson, Ben (2009) Nikola Tesla. The Badass of the Week.
[Read this too, it's also funny and probably true. Tesla is also featured in Thompson's first truly astounding book.]

Cheney, Margaret (2001) Tesla: Man Out of Time. Touchstone, 2001.

Aron, Jacob (2012) One minute with... Matthew Inman. New Scientist. September 1st 2012. number 2880 p.25.


Laura said...

I know your skepticism well. May I ask where your evidence is that Tesla was a synaesthete?

Lili Marlene said...

Here's an excerpt from my famous synaesthetes list:
"Tesla described his synaesthesia and other unusual psychological experiences in the beginning of his book My Inventions. On page 17 he wrote “When I drop little squares of paper in a dish filled with liquid, I always sense a peculiar and awful taste in my mouth.” (Tesla 1977 translation). Strange as this may sound, synaesthesia triggers can be this odd and specific. Other most unusual involuntary sensory experiences described in this book may also have been visual synaesthesia of the projector type, and Tesla claimed that his brother had similar experiences."

Also, take a look at the tenth paragraph down at this link:
I think Tesla is describing a pretty extreme case of a type of synaesthesia in which visual memories of scenes are evoked automatically. Other explanations are possible - eidetic memory or the Tetris effect.