Monday, March 14, 2011

Nikola Tesla, the inventive genius that many consider as the greatest electrical engineer of all time is Power Quality World's choice for Electrical Engineering Master of the Month. 
Nikola Tesla
Nikola Tesla
Nikola Tesla was born on July 10, 1865 in Smiljan, province of Lika, which was then part of Austria-Hungary. His father was a clergyman of the Greek Orthodox Church. As a young boy, Tesla had a talent for mathematics and an incredible memory. In his early days, he solved complex problems in his head without pencil and paper. His teachers suspected him of cheating, but young Tesla had actually memorized the whole logarithmic tables.

Nikola Tesla spent two years at the Polytechnic Institute of Graz, Austria, where he conceived the idea of rotating magnetic field that was later the basis for his induction motor. At this point in life, his father died and he decided to leave school and take a job in Paris with the Continental Edison Company.

In 1884, at the young age of 28, Nikola Tesla stepped off the ship in New York City. Thomas Edison, although committed to direct current (DC) gave Tesla a job at the Edison Machine Works. By 1885, he had left Edison due to conflicting opinions and worked on his own until he teamed up with George Westinghouse who later bought the rights of his AC dynamos, motors and transformers.

Nikola Tesla is usually associated with his famous invention – the Tesla coil, which produce high voltage, relatively high current, and high frequency alternating current electricity. In addition, Tesla has many other inventions that are included in his more than 700 patents as well as settling the dispute between AC and DC with his invention of the induction motor. He was primarily responsible for the selection of 60 Hz as the standard AC frequency in the United States and throughout much of the world. Tesla was also credited for the idea of wireless transmission of power. In 1960, the SI unit measuring magnetic field β (also referred to as the magnetic flux density and magnetic induction), the Tesla, was named in his honor.

Nikola Tesla never acquired the habit of writing notes, always claiming and proving that he was able to retain all of his research in his mind. Tesla became secluded in his last years as engineers and scientists who were engaged in developing his earlier ideas increasingly ignored him. As poor as he was, in January 8, 1943 during his sleep in his hotel room, he died at the age of 87. He planned to die at the age of 150, and upon reaching the 100 years of age would write his memoirs, which would include a detailed record of all the data he had compiled. At his death (during World War II), military authorities impounded the contents of his safe and nothing has been heard since as to what records, if any, were there.

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I am a Professional Electrical Engineer with a Masters Degree in Business Administration. My interest is in Power Quality, Diagnostic Testing and Protective Relaying. I have been working in an electric distribution utility for more than a decade. I handle PQ studies, power system analysis, diagnostic testing, protective relaying and capital budgeting for company projects.