Tuesday, August 10, 2010
BW's Heroes: Coolest Mad Scientist Ever
This guy right here? He is the shit.
Nikola Tesla is my hero. When most people think about Mad Scientists, they are thinking of Tesla...only he actually existed, and was actually mad. Literally, there's evidence to support that he was obsessive-compulsive at least. He held conventions with Tesla coils blasting electricity throughout the room, and would laugh at the terrified people. It was totally safe, after all. They were just a bunch of ninnies who didn't understand science. Nowadays, we have ArcAttack. Thank you, Tesla.
The man was a genius. Modern commercial electricity is based on his theories and development of Alternating Current electric power systems and motors. Edison dismissed AC power because he didn't understand the math. Tesla dismissed Edison for being a bad scientist. His AC current kicked Edison's ass in the War of the Currents, and he could have been a billionaire for those discoveries, too. He tore up the contracts because he thought power should be freely available, and because it would have put his employer out of business to have to pay them.
I think that's why I admire the man so much. He was absolutely innovative, sure. The list of his inventions and the contributions he made to science is mind-bogglingly long and varied. Electromagnetism, robotics, computers, remote control technology...we owe the dude a lot. It's the pattern of his life that is so incredible to me, though. He loved a challenge, and he loved science. He didn't market his inventions well or care about making money. He didn't care that people thought he was crazy, or that his Death Ray was purely theoretical or that the technology needed for his Flying Machine probably wouldn't be developed in his (or any) lifetime. It was the idea that mattered. Figuring it out. Taking the spark of inspiration, and following it wherever it took him, no matter how crazy it seemed. There's something really awesome about that. I don't know if I could do it with everything he had to face, even if I had his genius.
Tesla was ostracized during his time. His few close friends, Mark Twain among them, spoke well of him but he never married (obviously because the two of us were born centuries apart, o cruel fate), and died alone in a world that dismissed him as a 'Mad Scientist'. The Fools. They'll pay...they will all pay! As soon as I get my time machine working...