Tesla had a vision of electromagnetic fields that was real and tangible...
Born to a Serbian family on July 9th, 1856 in Smiljan, Croatia (former Yugoslavia), Nikola Tesla was a dreamer with a poetic touch. His first "invention" consisted of a rotary engine, powered by insects that the young Tesla had glued to a paper wheel. This boyhood fascination with motors developed a unique mental ability where Tesla could visualize inventions in his mind, complete to the most minute detail, and execute these plans without the need for a blueprint or meticulous calculations.
As an adult, Tesla attended the Technical University at Graz, Austria, and the University of Prague. At Graz he first saw the Gramme dynamo, which operated as a generator and, when reversed, became an electric motor, and from this observation he conceived a way to use alternating current to advantage. Tesla had a vision of electromagnetic fields that was real and tangible, at a time when most engineers considered electrical current as an intangible and ethereal mystery. Later, at Budapest, he visualized the principle of the rotating magnetic field and developed plans for an induction motor that would become his first step toward the successful utilization of alternating current.
An eccentric genius, Tesla had few friends and remained reclusive. He never had a home in America, choosing instead to live in hotels. During the final few decades of his life he withdrew in a New York hotel, only granting interviews and making annual public appearances on his birthdays. At these press conferences Tesla proposed future inventions, but his accounts were frequently distorted by the popular press. After Tesla's death the Federal Bureau of Investigation took note of Tesla's proposals for advanced weapons systems and searched his papers for information about reports of his death ray machine as world conflict was impending.
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