|Born: July 10 1856 in Smijan, Austrian Empire (modern day Croatia)
Died: 7 January 1943 in New York City, USA
|Fields: Physics, Engineering
Nikola Tesla was a Serbian-American engineer, physicist and inventor who is best known for his design of the modern electrical supply system, as well as laying the theoretical groundwork for radio communication.
Tesla started off in the telephony and electrical fields in his native Croatia (Austrian Empire at the time) before migrating to the United States in 1888 to work for Thomas Edison. He was able to secure some financial backers and branch out on his own and later receive a lot of attention with his experiments, one of which included a failed attempt at an intercontinental wireless electrical distribution system. Not only was it his experiments that made him famous during his day, but also for his charisma in presenting his inventions. Despite making a lot of money from patents, he spent even more on new experiments, which is why he is known as a “mad scientist” today.
Despite dying in poverty, debt and obscurity in 1943, he was honored in 1960 by having a measure unit for magnetic field strength named after him. His name has also experienced a comeback in popular culture in the late 1990s, thanks in a large part to his mad scientist image. One of his first notable pop culture appearances was in the 1996 alternate reality video game Command and Conquer: Red Alert, where he is scientist working for the USSR and has their electrical weapon technology named after him. He was also in the top 100 nominees for the TV show The Greatest American in 2005.
Order of St. Sava, II Class, Government of Serbia (1892)
Elliott Cresson Medal (1894)
Order of Prince Danilo I (1895)
Edison Medal (1916)
Order of St. Sava, I Class, Government of Yugoslavia (1926)
Order of the Yugoslav Crown (1931)
John Scott Medal (1934)
Order of the White Eagle, I Class, Government of Yugoslavia (1936)
Order of the White Lion, I Class, Government of Czechoslovakia (1937)
University of Paris Medal (1937)
The Medal of the University St. Clement of Ochrida, Sofia, Bulgaria (1939)