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Nikola Tesla: 80 years since the passing of the genius scientist who illuminated the world

Updated: Jan 11

On Orthodox Christmas Day (January 7th) 80 years ago, the great American scientist and inventor of Serbian origin Nikola Tesla died in New York City. The modern world would look very different if it were not for Tesla’s inventions and visions, which were far ahead of their time.

When Tesla was born in 1856 in a small village of Smiljan, Lika, on the territory of the Military Frontier of the Austrian Empire (not Austria-Hungary, which was established in 1867, nor Croatia, which was established during the last decade of the 20th century) no one would have thought that the son of a Serbian Orthodox priest Milutin Tesla and mother Georgina would become one of the smartest and most intuitive geniuses in the history of mankind. This wondrous visionary, often referred to as “the master of lightning” and the “poet of electricity”, was the genius who illuminated the world.

Tesla contributed to the development of humanity in various fields. It is often said that Tesla’s most significant inventions are the multiphase alternating current system, the rotating magnetic field, the system of production, transmission, and distribution of electricity - the induction motor, generator and transformer, Tesla coil as well as radio transmission and his inventions in the field of wireless signal transmission and remote control. He is considered a forefather of robotics, a visionary who predicted mobile phones, emails, drones more than a century ago.

Nikola Tesla engendered over 700 patents and was the author of 40,000 documents of great scientific importance. The international SI unit for the measurement of magnetic induction, the tesla, was named after him.

Without his inventions, modern civilization would have a completely different appearance.

However, Tesla was not interested in money, but instead in the progress of mankind. Unfortunately, his laboratory burned down in 1895, and the fire destroyed many of the projects Tesla was working on. Thanks to Tesla's cousin Sava Kosanović, a part of the legacy of the great scientist is preserved in the Nikola Tesla Museum in Belgrade, visited each year by approximately 150,000 people from all over the world.

In 2003, in recognition of the universal significance of Nikola Tesla and his inventions, United Nations Educational Scientific Cultural Organization (UNESCO) added Tesla’s archive to the Memory of the World Register, the highest form of protection of cultural assets. The archival material preserved in the Nikola Tesla Museum as the Personal Collection of Nikola Tesla is considered cultural material of exceptional significance. Nikola Tesla's Archive consists of a unique collection of manuscripts, photographs, scientific and patent documentation which is indispensable in the study of history of electrification of the World.

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