Nikola Tesla was born in the village of Smiljan near Gospić in 1856, where his father was a Serb Orthodox Church parish priest. Tesla completed his elementary education in Gospić, and his high school education in Rakovac near Karlovac. In 1877, he travelled to Graz where he enrolled at the High Technical School. However, health problems and financial troubles following his father’s death, forced Tesla to find temporary employment in Maribor. He continued his studies 1879 in Prague, but then abandoned them permanently and took a job with a telephone factory in Budapest. In 1882, Tesla already came up with an idea on how to create a moving magnetic field and how to apply it in the induction motor.
After Budapest, Tesla travels to Paris and Strasbourg where he worked on perfecting the direct current electrical engine, which provided him with the experience that allowed him to undertake constructing a prototype of his induction motor. Finally, Tesla went to New York, where he worked for Thomas Edison, who was already an established inventor. Soon after they started working together, Edison and Tesla parted ways because of differences in opinions about the development of electric technology, particularly the role of the alternating current in that development. In 1885, Tesla established Teslino društvo za lučno osvjetljenje (Tesla Light and Manufacturing Company) and in 1887, he established the Tesla Electric Company. Also, in 1887, Tesla registered his most important patents, which represent the fundamental invention of the poly-phase system of transferring electrical energy, induction engine and adequate transformers and generators. All of these patents were purchased by Westinghouse at the World Exhibition in Chicago in 1893.
During the last decade of the 19th century, Tesla’s research lead to new discoveries in the area of high frequency current and high voltage. Tesla initially constructed high-frequency alternators which for years constitutedthe basis of broadcasting radio stations. He then went on to produce scalar electromagnetic waves. In 1897, while working in his permanent New York based laboratory, Tesla discovered and patented a type of resonance fundamental for radio connections with two rotating magnetic fields at the transmitter and receiver level.
In Colorado Springs, where he stayed in 1899, Tesla created a transformer which was later named after him. Tesla used this transformer to create strong electric outbursts in the form of lightening, he produced wireless electrical illumination, and discovered many other physical and physiological characteristics of high frequency currents. In 1898 he constructed a model of a ship without a crew, which was operated from shore through use of radio waves.
In an article, published in 1921 in the scientific journal Electric World, Tesla presented his idea about inter-planetary telecommunications using ultra-short radio-waves. This man, who enriched mankind with his work, died in 1943, poverty-stricken, in a New York hotel room, where he spent the last years of his life.
Tesla has sinced received the highest recognition and honors for his work. Many universities, academies and scientific institutions made him an honorary doctor of science or awarded him with certificates and medals for great contributions to technology and science. The International Electrical Technology Commission named the unit of measurement for magnet induction (sign T), after him, which symbolizes Tesla’s place among those with the most merits in the development of the science of electricity. On the 150th anniversary of Tesla’a birth, July 10, 2006, a memorial museum was opened to honor him at his birthplace in Smiljan.