Showing posts with label marc seifer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label marc seifer. Show all posts

Monday, November 19, 2012

Nikola Tesla

The second time a game ever got me to go to the library and start reading a book, was Red Alert 2, which featured a defensive structure that zapped incoming opponents with a burst of electricity called a Tesla Tower. (The first was Gabriel Knight II and King Ludwig II of Bavaria.)

I actually meant to pick-up a book about Nikola Tesla ages ago, but when I saw "Wizard: The Life and Times of Nikola Tesla : Biography of a Genius" on the new arrivals shelf at the library I finally had the topic thrust toward me. I'm interested in the topic and it was free. A perfect storm.

Besides examining Tesla, what I find so fascinating about the book is how well it situates Tesla in the larger world around him and the kind of profound technological changes that were happening at the turn of the last century.

People didn't have electricity, even in the cities and this was a time without radio. Books, newspapers, and magazines were the principle purveyors of information and news. And at that same time in different parts of the world there's the onset of wireless communication, electricity (Tesla's AC current winning out over the DC advocated by people like Thomas Edison), and flight technology. All of this would bring profound social, commercial, and economic changes to the entire planet, but the author, Marc Seifer, argues convincingly, I think, that Tesla -- a single person -- had more impact on those three than anyone else.