Born: 10 July 1856
Died: 7 January 1943
Nationality: Croatian/ American
Nikola Tesla was a Croatian-American inventor, electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, physicist, and futurist best known for his contributions to the design of the modern alternating current (AC) electricity supply system.
Tesla gained experience in telephony and electrical engineering before immigrating to the United States in 1884 to work for Thomas Edison in New York City. He soon decided to go it alone with his own financial backers, setting up laboratories and companies to develop a range of electrical devices. His patented AC induction motor and transformer were licensed by George Westinghouse, who also hired Tesla for a short time as a consultant.
Tesla went on to pursue his ideas of wireless lighting and electricity distribution with his high-voltage, high frequency power experiments in New York and Colorado Springs and made early (1893) announcements on the possibility of wireless communication with his devices. In his lab he also conducted a range of experiments with mechanical oscillators/ generators, electrical discharge tubes and early X-ray imaging. He also built a wireless controlled boat, one of the first ever exhibited.
Tesla was renowned for his achievements and showmanship, eventually earning him a reputation in popular culture as the archetypal "mad scientist". His vision changed the world as we know it. Without his AC induction motor/ electrical supply system, our modern day society would cease to function, simply because we would not be able to power our homes, hospitals, workplaces, schools and so on.