dp2 wrote: Soralin wrote:
Lawton wrote:It always depressed me that school was about work, not learning. Genius is ninety-nine per cent perspiration and one per cent inspiration, but that one percent is hard to come by.
Thomas Edison wrote:Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration.
Nikola Tesla wrote:If Edison had a needle to find in a haystack, he would proceed at once with the diligence of the bee to examine straw after straw until he found the object of his search. ... I was a sorry witness of such doings, knowing that a little theory and calculation would have saved him ninety per cent of his labor.
And which of those two gave us practical stuff to use?
Are you serious? You must be joking. You can't be serious, can you?
Tesla gave us Electricity (I'm talking about real, practical, useable electricity here), Edison only gave us batteries and light bulbs (and he stole the light bulb idea, so I frankly don't count it).
Electricity is not
stored at local substations, there are no batteries on the planet that can handle the kind of power necessary to be used for such a purpose. If they did, blackouts and brownouts would be virtually non-existent. There would also be no need to charge higher rates at peak hours, as wasted electricity could be stored in periods of excess. No, electricity is piped from regional sources at very high voltages (a technology also developed by Tesla, by the way) over hundreds of miles to different localities. This means that total production is dictated by peak capacity, and is the reason electric companies want to encourage off-peak usage - if they can reduce peak usage they can reduce capacity and overall waste. This may sound like a major downside, and it is, but it is nothing compared to the downside of DC power. If Edison had had his way there would be power plants every few miles (not substations, power production plants!), because that is the limit of DC distribution. With Tesla's AC and his three phase generator (still in use today), high power generators were possible instead of the piddly little DC things Edison wanted to use. This made things like hydro-electricity (which he also pioneered) and modern wind power possible.
Tesla also gave us the basis for the wireless transmission of electricity, which led to all forms of radio communication. Granted, his primary research was in transmission through the ground, but he was also the first to demonstrate radio communication (poor business sense led to Marconi getting the patent for that, but his patent was overturned in 1943 and recognition awarded to Tesla). Without Tesla we'd have no cell phones, no wireless internet, no radio, radio control, etc. I hope you can fathom what that does to our modern world. Hell, the SI unit for magnetic field strength is tesla for heaven's sake! As I recall there is no "edison" unit of measure for anything. Surely that gives you SOME indication of his importance.
While Edison managed to steal the incandescent light bulb from his assistants, Tesla was busy inventing the vastly more efficient and more useful fluorescent tube - could you imagine life without fluorescent lighting today?
Some of Tesla's inventions have gone the way of the hobbyist or aficionado (like Tesla Coils and the vacuum tube amplifier), others, like AC current and fluorescent lighting, will probably be around for a few more centuries. Still others were heavily influenced by his work - like lasers, cathode-ray tubes, and solar cells.
While Edison is the celebrity scientist poorly informed school children think of for that time period, most of the modern technology we use was based on Tesla's work. Some of this technology we would have regardless, as Tesla was competing with other scientists for these inventions (radio, in particular), but a great many of his inventions were simply revolutionary and world-changing. Most people who know anything at all about Nikola Tesla consider him to be the father of modern technology. I really don't think it is possible to over-state Tesla's impact on the world. Edison's impact, while significant, pales by comparison.
Oh and this whole thing is way off topic, but it is three pages in so hopefully you all will forgive me.