Who is Nikola Tesla?


Quick Answer

Nikola Tesla was a Serbian-American inventor credited with first developing the alternating-current electrical system, typically referred to as AC, that is widely used around the world today. Tesla also discovered the rotating magnetic field that is at the heart of the AC system.

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Full Answer

Nikola Tesla was born in 1856 in what is now known as Croatia and moved to the United States in 1884. Tesla worked as an inventor during most of his adult life and once partnered with Thomas Edison, though the cooperation between the two inventors didn't last long.

In addition to inventing the AC power system, which he eventually sold to George Westinghouse, he also came up with the Tesla Coil. This particular piece of equipment is one that is still used in radios as of 2014. Despite coming up with inventions that have made a number of corporations billions of dollars, Tesla himself was widely known as someone who wasn't very good at commercializing his creations.

Tesla was constantly inventing different contraptions, but rarely had enough money actually to fund the construction of prototypes. This was underlined by his attempts around 1900 to create a "global communications system" using a giant tower. The inventor ran out of money and eventually had to abandon the project.

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