"Tesla: Inventor of the Electrical Age" (Encore Presentation)
(Please note: This interview first aired earlier this year.) Nikola Tesla (1856-1943) was a key player in the electrical revolution that transformed life itself at the dawn of the twentieth century. His inventions, patents, and theoretical work formed the basis of modern AC electricity, and significantly contributed to the development of radio and TV. Like his competitor Thomas Edison, Tesla was also one of America's first celebrity scientists --- yet he's not nearly as famous as Edison today. Why? Our guest is W. Bernard Carlson, a professor in the School of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Virginia. He's written a new biography of Tesla, which a critic for Nature has called "superb. . . . Carlson brings to life Tesla's extravagant self-promotion, as well as his eccentricity and innate talents, revealing him as a celebrity-inventor of the 'second industrial revolution' to rival Thomas Alva Edison." And further, per a critic for Library Journal: "This is a fascinating glimpse into the life of a monumental inventor whose impact on our contemporary world is all too unfamiliar to the general public. Carlson relates the science behind Tesla's inventions with a judicial balance that will engage both the novice and the academic alike. Highly recommended to serious biography buffs and to readers of scientific subject."