King of Excellent (according to Scaryduck)

Wednesday, November 21

Никола Тесла

Or, if you don't know Serbian Cyrillic (pah!), Nikola Tesla.

Nikola Tesla is a bit of a hero of mine. I studied him whilst at college, and his theories on electricity leave a lot of physicists today scratching their heads. If I could believe someone had travelled back in time from the future to pass on their thoughts, then this would be the man I would suspect. Born (allegedly) at exactly midnight in a severe thunder storm, he went on in life to experiment with electricity and invented most famously devices called Tesla coils. As any player of Command and Conquer will tell you, these are towers that throw electricity through the air and can electrocute you if you are unfortunate enough to be on the receiving end.

The simple physics of the devices are testimony to why they work. Electricity doesn't like moving through air, because air is a good insulator. As any fule kno, lightning is electricity, so why does that move through the air. The simple answer is voltage. So if you step up the voltage a few times (to about a million volts would be ideal) and lower the current (by a million times) then the electricity will now move through the air but without loss of power, finding the path of least resistance.
Place another coil to receive the electricity, and then convert back the voltage and current (allowing for a bit of loss, obviously) and there you have electricity transferred without wires. This from the same man who investigated X-rays and is widely regarded as the inventor of the AC motor. He did what he loved as a passion, not to become rich and famous. He died a poor man, and his work has never been taken on by anybody else. The Tesla Coil is now used for fancy light shows and science fiction back ground effects, but has never been advanced since he first experimented back the late 19th century. Which leads to this week's video. Take two tesla coils and pulse them at certain frequencies to make a note or two. If done right, you can get a nice effect as lightning plays a tune.