| || With this article, we mark the centennial of Nikola Tesla's autobiography "My Inventions" in the USA. Nikola Tesla wrote that at the age of 14, "My studies were continued at the Higher Real Gymnasium in Carlstadt, Croatia ,... I had become intensely interested in electricity under the stimulating influence of my Professor of Physics, who was an ingenious man and often demonstrated the principles by apparatus of his own invention." The name of his professor was Martin Sekulić, who was not only a high school teacher, but also an active scientist. During Tesla's schooling in Carlstadt (now Karlovac), Sekulić became an associate memeber of JAZU in Zagreb (now Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts), in the department of Mathematics and Natural Sciences. |
In his autobiography My Inventions, published in 1919 by Electrical Experimenter in New York, Nikola Tesla provides a shourt outline of his life and work, as well as his visions for the future.
It is interesting that his visions include mobile phones and internet, some seventy to eighty years before their actual appearance. Let us not forget that his ideas were published in time of deaf movies.
These visions are formulated as follows (in the fifth part of My Inventions, entitled The Mangifying Transmitter):
This invention was one of a number comprised in my "World-System" of wireless transmission which I undertook to commercialize on my return to New York in 1900. As to the immediate purposes of my enterprise, they were clearly outlined in a technical statement of that period from which I quote:
"The 'World-System' has resulted from a combination of several original discoveries made by the inventor in the course of long continued research and experimentation. It makes possible not only the instantaneous and precise wireless transmission of any kind of signals, messages or characters, to all parts of the world, but also the inter-connection of the existing telegraph, telephone, and other signal stations without any change in their present equipment. By its means, for instance, a telephone subscriber here may call up and talk to any other subscriber on the Globe. An inexpensive receiver, not bigger than a watch, will enable him to listen anywhere, on land or sea, to a speech delivered or music played in some other place, however distant. These examples are cited merely to give an idea of the possibilities of this great scientific advance, which annihilates distance and makes that perfect natural conductor, the Earth, available for all the innumerable purposes which human ingenuity has found for a line-wire. One far-reaching result of this is that any device capable of being operated thru one or more wires (at a distance obviously restricted) can likewise be actuated, without artificial conductors and with the same facility and accuracy, at distances to which there are no limits other than those imposed by the physical dimensions of the Globe. Thus, not only will entirely new fields for commercial exploitation be opened up by this ideal method of transmission but the old ones vastly extended. ...
In 1926, Nikola Tesla was even more explicit. The Colliers journal in its issue of Januray 30th, published an interview Nikola Tesla entitled When woman is a boss, in which he is even more clear about what we call today Internet and mobile phone.
"When wireless is perfectly applied the whole earth will be converted into a huge brain, which in fact it is, all things being particles of a real and rhythmic whole. We shall be able to communicate with one another instantly, irrespective of distance. Not only this, but through television and telephony we shall see and hear one another as perfectly as though we were face to face, despite intervening distances of thousands of miles; and the instruments through which we shall be able to do his will be amazingly simple compared with our present telephone. A man will be able to carry one in his vest pocket.Nikola Tesla acquired his primary and secondary education in Croatia. Especially important was the period of 1870-1873, when as a young man between 14 and 17 years of age he attended the Higher Real School in Rakovac, at that time near Karlovac (now a part of the city of Karlovac). His most important professor there was Martin Sekulić, and here we provide an excerpt from Tesla's autobiography (in part III of My Inventions, entitld My Later Endevors):
I had become intensely interested in electricity under the stimulating influence of my Professor of Physics, who was an ingenious man and often demonstrated the principles by apparatus of his own invention. Among these I recall a device in the shape of a freely rotatable bulb, with tinfoil coatings, which was made to spin rapidly when connected to a static machine. It is impossible for me to convey an adequate idea of the intensity of feeling I experienced in witnessing his exhibitions of these mysterious phenomena. Every impression produced a thousand echoes in my mind. I wanted to know more of this wonderful force; I longed for experiment and investigation and resigned myself to the inevitable with aching heart.Here is a copy from the corresponding page in Tesla's autobiography, published by Electrical Experimentor in 1919, in its April issue, containing the third part of My Inventions:
In the quoted passage, Nikola Tesla does not mention the name of Martin Sekulić, but according to reliable sources we know that Tesla indeed writes about him. One may wonder why doesn't he mention his name explicitly. In answer, Tesla mentions his mother on several occasions as well, without ever providing her name. Of course, it is impossible that he forgot the name of his mother, or of his professor of Physics, thanks to who he has become intensly interested in electricity.
Furthermore, there are only two persons in the entire autobiography, that Tesla describes as ingenious: his mother and his professor of Physics.
The importance of Martin Sekulić during Tesla's education has been almost totally neglected in the existing literature. Moreover, his name is hardly mentioned in any of the existing biographical books, even in very ambitios ones.
For a more detailed information about schooling of Nikola Tesla in Croatia, please see
Školovanje Nikole Tesle u Hrvatskoj i njegov učitelj Martin Sekulić
With this article, we mark the centennial of publishing Nikola Tesla's autobiography My Inventions (1919-2019). We have recently celebrated this event by organizing a small conference in the Renaissance Hall in the Upper Town of the city of Zagreb, Croatia's capital.
It is very probable that Croatia, the country birth (and of primary and secondiary schooling) of Nikola Tesla, is the only country in the world which has marked this centennial.
The Renaissance Hall, belonging to the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts in Zagreb, is the most beautiful hall in the city.
U povodu ove jedinstvene stogodišnjice jedan novi pogled na Nikolu Teslu s mnoštvom dosada malo poznatih pojedinosti predočili su kroz predavanja i dijalog
My Inventions - Moji pronalasci su autobiografske bilješke u kojima je Nikola Tesla rekao sve potrebno o sebi i svojim djelima.
Zato su ovi tekstovi fundamentalni u razumijevanju tako monumentalnog čovjeka koji je svojim mislima i djelom preobrazio i preobražava našu civilizaciju. Dio programa posebno će se baviti razdobljem života Nikole Tesle u njegovom kraju i zavičaju te školovanjem u Smiljanu, Gospiću i Karlovcu (tada Rakovcu koji je danas ulica u Karlovcu), a kasnije u Grazu i Pragu, te naglasiti presudni utjecaj profesora kojeg sam Tesla naziva "ingenioznim čovjekom": kraljevskog profesora Martina Sekulića u Carskoj i kraljevskoj Velikoj realci koju je mladi Nikola Tesla pohađao na jesen 1870., 1871., 1872., do ljeta 1873.
Očekuje se da će kao rezultat ovog događaja uslijediti zasebni popularno-znanstveni susreti u Mađarskoj, Austriji, Češkoj i zatim veliki zajednički susret u Hrvatskoj s ciljem povezivanja zemalja te institucija koje dijele naslijeđe izvrsnosti obrazovanja Austro-Ugarske Monarhije (naime, akademski krugovi u svim zemljama suglasni su da je Nikola Tesla najpoznatiji "plod" vrhunaca habsburškog školstva, koje je tada bilo najbolje na svijetu).
Za ovu posebnu priliku "u duhu Nikole Tesle" povezali su se Nikola Tesla Network kandidat za Kulturne rute Vijeća Europe, Tesla World Foundation Smiljan, Nikola Tesla Experience Centre Karlovac, Innovation Centre Nikola Tesla Zagreb i Udruga Nikola Tesla - Genij za budućnost.
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