Just finished(which I really wanted to read for a while) reading this fascinating biography Nikola Tesla – Man Out of Time by Margaret Cheney. A terrific insight into this enigmatic scientist, his spectacular inventions, his personality and eccentricities.
One of his really unique skills(which blew my mind) was his ability to conceptualize, develop, iterate and perfect his complex and intricate inventions(mostly induction motors, coils, turbines, and other electrical/mechanical equipment) entirely in his head, without any blue-prints on paper whatsoever, before going for the actual implementation. And, more often than not, they always worked just as he expected them to.
A quick quote from a chapter titled ‘Robots’ :
“Inventors of modern computer technology in the last half of twentieth century repeatedly have been surprised, when seeking patents, to encounter Tesla’s basic ones, already on file.”
Another interesting(but a little scary) theory he made(from a chapter called ‘To Mars’) was — that he could ‘split open the earth itself in the same way as a boy would split an apple’ by applying principles of mechanical resonance.
Among several things, the book outlines many of his great inventions in Electrical, Mechanical, Wireless and many other engineering fields. And, other interesting aspects like the war of currents(DC vs AC currents), radio invention(for which he got the patent posthumously), wireless transmission of electricity, illuminating entire oceans and its depths (so that catastrophes like ‘Titanic’ could be avoided) in methodical way and just enough detail without being extremely esoteric.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Highly recommended. Specifically, for those pursuing(or interested in) any kind of engineering discipline.