Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Nikola Tesla - A Creative Genius

Nikola Tesla, the man who revolutionized the world through his inventions, that even today, literally light up the world. He introduced the world to his developments using polyphase alternating current (AC current) which is used to power the world today because of its advantages over direct current (DC current). The exact science underlying these concepts is too complex to explain in a short post such as this one. In short, however, the use of AC current allowed cheaper long distance transmission of electricity by increasing efficiency. 
Furthermore, he has registered over 700 patents worldwide. Some of these inventions include the current induction motor, the Tesla coil, the fluorescent light, laser beam, wireless communications, remote control, and vertical take off aircraft.
Nikola Tesla. Source: Tesla Society
When one sees the complexity and variety of products created as a direct or indirect result of Tesla's ideas, it is difficult to argue against the claim that he was creative. In fact, he describes his creative process which allowed him to make all his inventions in his autobiography. According to him, when he came up with an idea, he developed it in his mind. He edited, improved, and finalized the product in his mind before making and testing a model in real life. To him, it made no difference if he tested the product in his mind or in real life because he had been able to successfully create products in his mind his entire career. 

Tesla Coil. Source: Electric Museum
Tesla's creativity fits the definition that Howard Gardner defines in his book, Creating minds, where he defines the creative individual as a person who regularly solves problems, fashions products, or defines new questions in a domain in a way that is initially considered novel but that ultimately becomes accepted in a particular cultural setting. 

According to him, a person need only be creative in a domain, as opposed to being creative across all domains. This applies to Tesla, as he was not known for his creativity in the arts or music as much as his creativity with electronics. Gardener's second point about the creative individual is that they regularly exhibit creativity, and Tesla dedicated his life to his work and created new ideas or products throughout his life. The third point, ties into the second, in that creativity can involve fashioning of products, which is exactly what Tesla did in his career. Lastly, Gardener states that the creative activities are accepted in a particular culture, and the scientific and general community have come to accept and revere Tesla's inventions. For his work, he was awarded honorary doctoral degrees from Columbia and Yale University, among many other honors. 

I believe that Nikola Tesla is one of the most influential people to ever exist. His creative genius has allowed us to enjoy the technological advancements of the 21st century.  It is not difficult to imagine that without this man's creations, the world would be a very different place. 


Gardner, Howard. Creating Minds: An Anatomy of Creativity Seen through the Lives of Freud, Einstein, Picasso, Stravinsky, Eliot, Graham, and Gandhi. New York: Basic, 1993. Print.

Knapp, Alex. "Nikola Tesla: Unique Genius Or A Model For Everyone?" Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 28 Apr. 2011. Web. 12 Feb. 2015. <>.

"Tesla's Biography." Tesla Society. Tesla Memorial Society of New York. Web. 12 Feb. 2015. <>.


  1. Not many people realize that Nikola Tesla is more than just the tesla coil. As you mentioned, he is the inventor of so many things that we take for granted today. He lead to the improvements and creation of things we use in our daily lives without thinking about who or where they came from. I agree that he is one of the most influential people of his time and that we will continue to benefit from his contributions and use them as a basis to create even more.

  2. Tesla is fairly well known for his contributions to AC current and for things like the Tesla coil, but not as much for his other contributions to science. I mean, I knew he was a creative genius, but over 700 patents is incredible! This post really shows the creativity of Tesla that is often overlooked and demonstrates how a single man, with enough creativity can have a profound impact on the world. Tesla's inventions, in one way or another, helped shape the current field of electronics and continue to inspire creativity in others.


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