Talking about Nikola Tesla’s inventions (Smiljan, Croatia, 1856-1943) without seeking to question his mind would be like talking about any living entity without mentioning the DNA that governs it. All the same, there wouldn’t be enough pages in this article to list all Tesla’s inventions. He had a versatile mind, with many interests, not just science and technology. Nevertheless his work was almost always expressed as technological inventions designed for the use of energy, particularly in the electromagnetic field but also in the mechanical field.
Tesla's goal was not to make money but to give the world forms of energy that would simplify society’s existence and increase its welfare. His concern for the healthy management of human society as a whole was such that he had even talked of "eugenics": unfortunately this aspect was totally misinterpreted by those who wanted to see the negative in his words whereas instead there was a pure desire to protect humans from delinquency and crime.
His interest in science and technology was such that Tesla, for every new invention, wanted to share his discoveries through practical demonstrations in front of the public. It was a pragmatic way of disclosure, and all this was focussed on enthusing and intellectually stimulating people. Unfortunately, Tesla did not understand that only a very small part of the general public would be able to understand his ideas accurately. Tesla’s excessive openness to the general public, with his use of spectacular and bombastic public experiments as well as his spectacularly informative articles, only ended up distancing him from the academic world which, whilst recognizing the innate intelligence, accused him of lacking scientific methodology in the presentation of his results. And here the academic world had a point: Tesla did not ever show in his technical articles the physical-mathematical structure that formed basis of his inventions, and therefore by not sharing this work with his colleagues put himself in a very autocratic and confrontational position. The scepticism of physicists and engineers of that time, as well as the obvious envy and cynicism of some of his competitors such as Thomas Edison, distanced him even further from mainstream science, which he would still have to collaborate with because scientific methodology requires sharing data with all researchers, who must be permitted to replicate at will the same experiments in order to confirm or refute their validity.
But detractors of Tesla, both from then and now, knew however that with or without technical mathematical publications that would support his work before the academy, unlike the many charlatans who arrogantly fill their mouths with gossip and speculation with a pseudoscientific flavour, Tesla was a man who always put into practice what he said. In fact, he delivered, producing a chain of technological innovations that not only worked but that represented a real leap into the future for humanity. The consequences of these inventions are still seen today. For example, the technology of the alternating current used in the well-known "induction motor" is the only possible way to transmit energy via cable at very great distances and without losses and is still in use today: when, from the ISS space station, someone has the pleasure of seeing the Earth illuminated so exquisitely, we owe it exclusively to Tesla. The same is true for many other inventions, such as the cathode ray tube, the energy-saving light bulb, the use of X-rays for radiography, solar panels, the fuel injector, the logic gate, the boundary layer turbine, the electric steam generator, the radio, radar, the vertical take-off aircraft, robotics, radio control systems, the amplification transmitter, to name but a few. Many of the current applications of modern technology contain within them foundations laid by Nikola Tesla.
Academics of the past and present, faced with a character like Tesla, remain dumbfounded: how is it possible that an inventor is able to go directly to the technical-practical part of an experiment so excellently without having done almost no prior feasibility calculation, only simple sketches in his notes of which they were jealous? The science and engineering standards always begin with feasibility studies and preliminary mathematical computations that contribute to the theoretical postulation of a certain experiment, a practice which, in addition to allowing supervision of the correct operation, also allows the various researchers to exchange views through technical publications in order to optimize the results of a given discovery. But Tesla did not wish to share his findings with colleagues and this might have created the impression of fanatical self-centredness and individualism. He was however merely keen that his experiments worked, and that they had an immediate practical application, the entire benefit being for all humanity and not for obtaining the approval of a narrow, sometimes conservative, academic circle. Meanwhile the systems he put into operation went so well that they were produced on an industrial scale, filling the pockets of tycoons who had financed them and, only very partially or occasionally, his own. Tesla invested virtually all of the proceeds into his research, whilst spending almost nothing on himself.
He was a brilliant and sharp-witted character, but at the same time a little resistant to normal life. He had strange compulsive quirks. All this made him very unique and enigmatic. But what made him like this? Probably the key to the "mystery of Tesla" resided in his mind, very unusual and even abnormal in some aspects. He had visions of his technological discoveries even before they were made, and these visions were so clear in his mind that he did not even have to put them on paper in mathematical form, since after a few simple sketches he moved swiftly to the application stage.
What source was he drawing from to realize his inventions in such a remarkable manner? One can only speculate, but when seen in the light of our current knowledge of quantum physics it could perhaps have an origin. It is believed that the quantum vacuum can additionally function as an information storage and that it may contain as would a magnetic tape the recording of everything that has been thought and created in the Universe: this real "database" may have been ordered and organized engineeringly by one or more cosmic civilizations able to control both mind and matter and to use the quantum entanglement mechanism for the transmission and the instantaneous reception of information.The quantum vacuum could then function as the hard disk of a computer, to which the mind itself could have access at any time, just like when you draw on information from the Internet or from a normal library. Could Tesla really connect with this wonderful "Alexandria Library" of the cosmos? Essentially this hypothetical mechanism is identical to that of the Internet: one could "download" previously deposited information from someone else’s "upload ". These are not so much wandering speculations nowadays, since according to some concrete research projects people are already thinking of exploring this possibility by scanning, using appropriate analysis algorithms, what's within the bioelectric activity of the brain. If Tesla really was connecting with the big "mental library" potentially anyone else could do it. But it is equally obvious that this hypothetical ability to "connect", if not combined with an accurate rational processing of the information acquired, would be a completely sterile operation. If this information is acquired by the right hemisphere of the brain or "displayed" by the pineal gland, then to become operational that information should be immediately transferred to the left hemisphere. Otherwise it would be like filling up a petrol can without then putting the fuel into a petrol tank to make the vehicle move. The human brain is structured in such a way as to have two distinct functions that, for reasons not yet clear, seem not to want to communicate with each other. But whoever manages to make them communicate with each other, as well as being competent at interpreting the vivid display of the possible information coming perhaps from the quantum vacuum, can only be defined with one name: a genius. Perhaps, thanks to this hypothetical "library", this talent could have been a widespread mental ability amongst more advanced civilizations than ours elsewhere in the cosmos, to the point of maybe having allowed some of them to also actualize the technology that allows you to move easily from one point of the Universe to another point for exploration. The limited capacity for abstraction and discernment in too many people could have helped associate this hypothesis to a popular, widespread claim going around and in booklets of dubious value that Tesla "was in direct contact with extra-terrestrials." Regardless of these spurious associations, the fact is that there are scientific projects ready to test the hypothesis of the"mental library", and so attempt to understand how people like Tesla, Einstein and other geniuses can be born into this world. Why, exactly, what arouses the most interest in Tesla and individuals like him, are not so much his impressive inventions, as his mind. Is it possible, once this hypothesized mechanism of information acquisition has been understood (if indeed it exists), to multiply one genius into a million? It will be Science that predicts it, certainly not some simple shamanistic visions.
Nikola Tesla went beyond his technological inventions. He didn’t just dedicate himself to projects focusing on industrial mass production, but probably spent a good part of his time experimenting with entirely new possibilities, in particular transmitting power wirelessly using what he termed "transmitter amplifier ", a giant coil which is able to produce lightning up to 30 meters long, whose purpose was to extract energy from the Earth and then retransmit it to other places on the planet. Here Tesla, on the basis of his experiments carried out predominantly in Colorado Springs, invested much of his energy and money, with similarly remarkable results such as to be able to light bulbs to 40 kilometers away from the transmitter. And, as often it happens in the observational and applied sciences, in the course of his experiments with this device, he was able to find out - what scientists now call "serendipity" - totally unexpected and anomalous phenomena, such as ball lightning, and not only those. They were really just experiments with his transmitter, which then was a very elaborate derivative of his famous coil used for the induction motor, which opened completely new prospectives in Tesla's mind, which inevitably led to theoretical physics. In fact it was in the latter part of his life that Tesla wrote of volumes dedicated to his alternative physics, according to which any phenomenon was the attributable to a "cosmic ether" (whose existence was always systematically denied by Einstein). To this regard Tesla maintained that energy is not contained in matter but in the space between particles of an atom, and that the velocity of propagation of an electromagnetic signal can exceed the speed of light. He was convinced that all the properties of matter and energy derived from this ether that pervaded the whole universe. Nowadays this "ether" is called other names but they all mean exactly the same thing: "Planck field ", "zero-point energy", or simply "quantum vacuum." As you can see, even at this stage of Tesla’s experience, this concept is brought back into question again, which at this point should be seen in a double perspective: on the one hand the information storage and on the other the creation of matter and energy. But here this really deals with today's most advanced research in quantum physics, whose ultimate aim is to extract energy from the vacuum. Tesla had arrived at some of his own conclusions carefully observing the result of his experiments with the Colorado Springs transmitter, where he constantly noted that in addition to the normal electromagnetic field an energy with a different nature manifested itself in parallel, which today goes by the name of "scalar field ". It would be considered to be, in comparison with the normal electromagnetic waves vector, as "waves" characterized by a oscillation of time which spread over several dimensions. These waves would arise precisely from the void, a void without mass but with charge and flooded by a stream of charged virtual particles, and it would be an event that does not exist in ordinary space but only in space-time as a whole. Meticulous and definitive proof has not yet been found, at an official level, that these "scalar waves" actually exist. There have been many attempts to activate the scalar field, but mostly outside of the methodological protocol of science. Something's going on, but no one seems to have figured out how it works in terms of real physical laws in the mathematical sense of the term; on the other hand most of the academics deny the existence of scalar waves. Yet a stringent academic supervision, preferably free from preconceptions, it is inevitably necessary. But the fact remains that there is an energy anomaly to be investigated, because all this was not born from someone’s mental delusions, but from the empirical observation of certain phenomenon that occurred during Tesla’s experiments. It seems that Tesla had noticed that the flow of current in the conductors was not the real cause of certain phenomena that in the course of some of his experiments were manifested as "flares of blue light" a transient character, which ceased as soon as the current began to flow in the lines, and at that time no one seemed really interested to find out why dramatic increases happened in the static electric potential. Tesla, just focusing on the observed anomaly, saw a powerful and unknown form of energy in it that had to be understood scientifically and possibly harnessed. Thoroughly inspired by these anomalies at the end of his life he felt compelled to write books with a more physical than technological interest. However these texts, although interesting and intellectually stimulating in themselves (especially for a theoretical physicist), had a purely speculative and not quantitative nature as you would have expected from a treatise of theoretical physics. And this major flaw at that time prevented a new, truly revolutionary kind of physics from being established. Probably, if Nikola Tesla had been as fortunate as Albert Einstein in having a mathematician at his side of the calibre of Gregorio Ricci Curbastro, who collaborated with him helping him to turn his ideas into a high-level mathematical language, then maybe now in the sky instead of jet aircraft and rockets we would see "electric propulsion airships " based on rotating magnetic fields which can manipulate both space and time, as Tesla had previously envisaged. But it will be modern science that confirms or refutes this possibility.
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• Tesla in Electronic Music (by this author with pseudonym "Totemtag"):
English translation of an Italian article published by this author. Republished here with Author's permission.