Nikola Tesla is undoubtedly one of the most recognizable scientists in history, unfortunately much of his groundbreaking research lived in the shadows for the majority of his life. His pioneering contributions to science included alternating current, hydroelectricity, cryogenic engineering, the remote control, neon lighting, and wireless communication just to name a few.

While Tesla may have died around 30 years before the first call made made via a wireless cellphone, his advances in science helped make that reality achievable.

In an effort to offer the man at the core of wireless communication, a new statue has been erected in Tesla’s likeness in Silicon Valley that is equipped with free Wi-Fi.

The statue is the brainchild of Dorrian Porter, and entrepreneur that finds likeness with Tesla in that they were both immigrant that found scientific success in the U.S.

“This unique project… is also intended to inspire the entrepreneurs who come to the Silicon Valley to think big and selflessly—as Tesla did,” says Porter. “The free exchange of information and affordable access to sustainable energy have the potential to solve the critical issues of poverty and education, and inspire peace.”

Nikola Tesla

Tesla was known for discovering amazing things and then forgetting to write them down.
Image: The Oatmeal

Nikola Tesla is one of the most recognizable scientists in history; unfortunately the majority of his life was dominated by poverty, isolation, and intense emotional relationships with pigeons. Even with all of this, Telsa’s story is both inspiring, and often times even funny. Here are a few things you may not have known about Tesla.

He once made $2/day digging ditches
After graduating from university, Tesla had big dreams of revolutionizing discovery and development in electricity. He began that journey by working at Edison’s electric company in Paris, but traveled to the United States in hopes of working directly with Edison. Of course, upon seeing his potential, Edison offered him a job. However, Edison never paid Tesla the promised amount of $50,000 for the design of an improved direct current generator. With this, Tesla left Edison’s lab and dug ditches to make ends meet until he found enough backers to start his own lab.

Telsa paid an overdue bill with a “death beam”
Most people know that Tesla had quite the eccentric personality, but his later years in life really demonstrated this. Tesla picked pigeons over people and jumped from one hotel to another living a life of isolation. In an attempt to pay his overdue bill at the Governor Clinton hotel, he offered the establishment a wooden case containing a “death beam.” Tesla stated that it held a potentially war-ending weapon, but that the hotel must never open it. They listened… for a while. Once Tesla died the hotel opened the box to unveil nothing but old electrical components.

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Nikola Tesla

Tesla was known for discovering amazing things and then forgetting to write them down.

You know his name, but how much do you really know about Nikola Tesla? The writers over at The Oatmeal want you to be aware of all of Tesla’s glory, and put together quite the comic to demonstrate it.

This from The Oatmeal:

Over one hundred years ago, a Serbian-American inventor by the name of Nikola Tesla started fixing things that weren’t broken… Tesla’s contributions were not incremental; they were revolutionary.

Learn more about this underdog and his inventions and contributions to science, which included: alternating current, hydroelectricity, cryogenic engineering, the remote control, neon lighting, and wireless communication just to name a few.

Check out the comic here.

Although The Oatmeal paints Thomas Edison – Tesla’s competitor and often times rival – as “a non-geek who operated in geek space,” we at ECS are still proud to have had him as a member of the Society.

If you’re looking for more humorous renditions of Tesla’s storied past, check out this Drunk History rendition via Funny or Die.