(July 10, 1856 – January 7, 1943)
Based on the fact that his inventions have more global implications than those of Isambard Kingdom Brunel, and that Augustin-Louis Cauchy researched almost exclusively on mathematics, Nikola Tesla is regarded by many as the greatest engineer in recorded history. He was among the first to realize the importance of Faraday’s and Ampère’s groundbreaking experiments. And as an engineer, he went into inventive applications of them: making fantastic modifications wherever necessary. From electricity to telephony, and from mechanics to magnetism, Tesla’s signatures are everywhere. As a conceptual techie, he kept abreast of the latest mechatronic developments of his era: showcasing as much insight with their theoretical analyses as with their practical feasibilities. His versatility was superseded only by his brilliance. This enabled him to devise many of the blueprints which fuelled modern technologies. Diligent and meek, he displayed remarkable intuition. And through that, he inspired others. Albert Einstein studied Tesla’s works before embarking on his own Photoelectric Effect research, which won him his only Nobel Prize. Nikola Tesla is responsible (more than any other individual) for the ubiquity of electric supply. If you appreciate the availability of unmitigated electricity in every corner of the globe, then, join me in thanking him for it. Although he was not commensurately appreciated in his lifetime, during the General Conference of Weights and Measures in 1960, the name Tesla was designated as the S.I. unit of magnetic flux density. It was an overdue tribute to a genius who toiled selflessly for the common good.