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“Tesla, Inventor Of The Modern” Talks @Google

Tesla’s inventions transformed our world, and his visions have continued to inspire great minds for generations. Nikola Tesla invented the radio, robots, and remote control. His electric induction motors run our appliances and factories, yet he has been largely overlooked by history. In “Tesla”, Richard Munson presents a comprehensive portrait of this farsighted and underappreciated mastermind.

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Richard Munson
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Tesla worked tirelessly to offer electric power to the world, to introduce automatons that would reduce life’s drudgery, and to develop machines that might one day abolish war. His story is a reminder that technology can transcend the marketplace and that profit is not the only motivation for invention. This clear, authoritative, and highly readable biography takes account of all phases of Tesla’s remarkable life.

Richard Munson is the author of several books, including "From Edison to Enron" and "Cousteau: The Captain and His World". Based in Chicago, Illinois, he directs Environmental Defense Fund’s clean-energy efforts in the Midwest.

Richard Munson: "Tesla, Inventor Of The Modern"

Transcript

Nikola Tesla. He is getting a bit of a popular revival in part as we were mentioning it's because your boss not long ago referred to him as a hero. Everybody is going oh my gosh who if Larry Page thinks he's a hero. Maybe we need to learn a little bit more. Then suddenly Elon Musk decides that he's got a new car company. And I know him. You know a car that's named after this character so who the heck is he. There are sort of two broad categories of least those folks that sort of know something about him at least my experience is one says that he's the Superman that has provided us these amazing inventions that underlie our economy. The other side says that he's kind of quirky like he's an odd character. I mean he you know abhors jewelry. He gets a fever if he looks at a peach he counts his steps as he walks in if they're not divisible by 3. He has to go back and do the whole journey again. So that you've got this sort of contrast but I guess what I want to do for maybe about 20 25 minutes or so is talk a bit about some observations that I came up with a course of doing the research things that sort of surprised me that may surprise you hopefully. And then I'd welcome have actually just having a dialogue answering some questions about what you want to know or know about this remarkable individual. So let me start with just my first observation. I was unaware of the extent of his genius. This man got 300 patents.

He invented the electric motor. He invented long distance electricity transmission according to the United States Supreme Court. He provided us the basics of radio. He did remote control he did robots. I mean the list goes on. According to the American Institute of Electrical Engineers were we to seize and eliminate from our industrial world. The result of Mr. Tesla's work. The wheels of industry would cease to turn our towns would be dark and that's not all long after his death. His visions inspired great minds. I mean he foresaw cell phones radar laser weapons artificial intelligence vertical lift airplanes cellphones for instance guys about 110 years ago. He's talking about a device that can provide new eyes and stock prices and all sorts of information that he said. We shall see and hear one another as perfectly as though we were face to face despite intervening distances of thousands of miles. A man will be able to carry one in his vest pocket. Hundred Ten years ago it invented but he sort of thought about it that envisioning is quite amazing. He does come across as a bit of a magician. He would do presentations at various universities and he would admit that electricity has this force that even physicists will admit they don't fully understand what it is. But he was and others as well. Were able to capture it and utilize it and in fact last century you asked engineers as to what was the major accomplishment of the 20th century. They ignored the internal combustion engine the computer chip all these other sort of things they said.

The most amazing thing was the ability to capture and transmit electric power. And this man this magician was one of those he created lightning. This was something that had been reserved only for nature but he zapped it all over the place. You know hundreds and hundreds of feet. He also made lamps glow. They were not attached to wires.

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