Nikola Tesla
Nikola Tesla was a Serbian-American
Serbian American
Serbian Americans are citizens of the United States who are of Serbian ancestry. For the 2000 US Census, 140,337 Americans indicated Serbian as their first ancestry, while 170,312 persons declared to have Serbian ancestry...

 inventor, mechanical engineer
Mechanical engineering
Mechanical engineering is a discipline of engineering that applies the principles of physics and materials science for analysis, design, manufacturing, and maintenance of mechanical systems. It is the branch of engineering that involves the production and usage of heat and mechanical power for the...

, and electrical engineer. He was an important contributor to the birth of commercial electricity
Mains electricity
Mains is the general-purpose alternating current electric power supply. In the US, electric power is referred to by several names including household power, household electricity, powerline, domestic power, wall power, line power, AC power, city power, street power, and grid power...

, and is best known for his many revolutionary developments in the field of electromagnetism
Electromagnetism is one of the four fundamental interactions in nature. The other three are the strong interaction, the weak interaction and gravitation...

 in the late 19th and early 20th centuries building on the theories of electromagnetic technology discovered by Michael Faraday
Michael Faraday
Michael Faraday, FRS was an English chemist and physicist who contributed to the fields of electromagnetism and electrochemistry....

 and used in direct current
Direct current
Direct current is the unidirectional flow of electric charge. Direct current is produced by such sources as batteries, thermocouples, solar cells, and commutator-type electric machines of the dynamo type. Direct current may flow in a conductor such as a wire, but can also flow through...

 (DC) applications. Tesla's patents and theoretical work formed the basis of modern alternating current
Alternating current
In alternating current the movement of electric charge periodically reverses direction. In direct current , the flow of electric charge is only in one direction....

 (AC) electric power
Electric power
Electric power is the rate at which electric energy is transferred by an electric circuit. The SI unit of power is the watt.-Circuits:Electric power, like mechanical power, is represented by the letter P in electrical equations...

 systems, including the polyphase system
Polyphase system
A polyphase system is a means of distributing alternating current electrical power. Polyphase systems have three or more energized electrical conductors carrying alternating currents with a definite time offset between the voltage waves in each conductor. Polyphase systems are particularly useful...

 of electrical distribution and the AC motor
AC motor
An AC motor is an electric motor driven by an alternating current.It commonly consists of two basic parts, an outside stationary stator having coils supplied with alternating current to produce a rotating magnetic field, and an inside rotor attached to the output shaft that is given a torque by the...


Born an ethnic Serb
The Serbs are a South Slavic ethnic group of the Balkans and southern Central Europe. Serbs are located mainly in Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and form a sizable minority in Croatia, the Republic of Macedonia and Slovenia. Likewise, Serbs are an officially recognized minority in...

 in the village of Smiljan
Smiljan is a village in the mountainous region of Lika in Croatia. It is located northwest of Gospić, and fifteen kilometers from the Zagreb-Split highway; its population is 417 .-Tesla:...

 (now part of Gospić
Gospić is a town in the mountainous and sparsely populated region of Lika, Croatia. It is the administrative centre of Lika-Senj county. Gospić is located near the Lika River in the middle of a karst field....

), in the Croatian Military Frontier of the Austrian Empire
Austrian Empire
The Austrian Empire was a modern era successor empire, which was centered on what is today's Austria and which officially lasted from 1804 to 1867. It was followed by the Empire of Austria-Hungary, whose proclamation was a diplomatic move that elevated Hungary's status within the Austrian Empire...

 (modern-day Croatia
Croatia , officially the Republic of Croatia , is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic in Europe at the crossroads of the Mitteleuropa, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. Its capital and largest city is Zagreb. The country is divided into 20 counties and the city of Zagreb. Croatia covers ...

), Tesla was a subject of the Austrian Empire by birth and later became an American citizen.

There is something within me that might be illusion as it is often case with young delighted people, but if I would be fortunate to achieve some of my ideals, it would be on the behalf of the whole of humanity. If those hopes would become fulfilled, the most exciting thought would be that it is a deed of a Serb.

Address at the Belgrade train station (1 June 1892)

Money does not represent such a value as men have placed upon it. All my money has been invested into experiments with which I have made new discoveries enabling mankind to have a little easier life.

As quoted in "A Visit to Nikola Tesla" by Dragislav L. Petković in Politika (April 1927); also in Tesla, Master of Lightning (1999) by Margaret Cheney, Robert Uth, and Jim Glenn, p. 82

I have harnessed the cosmic rays and caused them to operate a motive device.

Brooklyn Eagle (10 July 1931)

If Edison had a needle to find in a haystack, he would proceed at once with the diligence of the bee to examine straw after straw until he found the object of his search. ... I was a sorry witness of such doings, knowing that a little theory and calculation would have saved him ninety per cent of his labor.

New York Times (19 October 1931)