Ronen Shnidman

Tesla Enjoying a Resurgence 80 Years After Death

Serbian American inventor Nikola Tesla. Credit: Public Domain
Serbian American inventor Nikola Tesla. (Public domain)

Before Elon Musk named a car company after him or David Bowie played him in a Christopher Nolan film, Nikola Tesla was the epitome of the inventor scientist, and this year marks the 80th anniversary of his death. In commemoration of this celebrated luminary, a number of events were held in 2023 and will be held in 2024, including an exhibit next year in Israel at the Bloomfield Science Museum in Jerusalem. The former long-time music director of the Israel Philharmonic Zubin Mehta was also one among dozens of international personages who received a diplomatic passport in 2023 as a “Tesla Ambassador.” Mehta received the title and passport after conducting a concert dedicated to Nikola Tesla and 100 years of the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra.

The son and grandson of ethnic Serb Orthodox priests from a village called Smiljan in the Austrian Empire, Tesla immigrated at the age of 28 to the United States, making New York City his home. Tesla’s best-known invention was an alternating current (AC) induction motor, which was licensed by the company Westinghouse Electric, making Tesla a rich man. Along with its main competitor, General Electric, Westinghouse Electric was responsible for much of the electric infrastructure built in the United States.

An early 20th century bon vivant more than a man of God, Tesla is mainly known for his many inventions, but he also had some spiritual inclinations. Tesla met with the Indian holy man Swami Vivekananda in New York City in 1896. After that meeting, Tesla began using Sanskrit terms to describe the fundamental principles of matter, existence and creation.

In 2024, the Swami Vivekananda and Nikola Tesla’s International Foundation, established in India in 2002, will host a conference in New Delhi on the subject of the unity of science and spirituality and dedicated to discovering innovative solutions to the global energy crisis. Inspired by many of the lesser-known discoveries and thoughts of Nikola Tesla and the teachings of Swami Vivekananda, the Swami Vivekananda and Nikola Tesla World Energy Conference has already been plugged by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

In all his endeavors, Nikola Tesla believed in harnessing the forces of nature for the benefit if humanity, holding almost 300 patents by his death in 1943. However, Tesla was also a humanist and environmentalist at heart – building inventions like the bladeless turbine that could power sustainable development before that even became a concept. In many ways, he was more of the 21st century than the 20th, a man ahead of his time. It is fitting that his reputation is enjoying a resurgence.

About the Author
Ronen is a freelance journalist as well as an experienced Hebrew-English translator. He has also written for Buzzfeed, Haaretz, JTA, JNS, The Forward and The Jerusalem Post.
Related Topics
Related Posts