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Quotes of Nikola Tesla


Illustration of Nikola Tesla Lecturing Circa 1880s

Illustration of Nikola Tesla Lecturing Circa 1880s

Kean Collection/Getty Images
It was difficult to quote the genius that was Nikola Tesla. How can you easily quote a man of modest words, who unfortunately was withdrawn and depressed for most of his life, and who's greatest life moments were spent in the silent inner world of invention. Compared to other inventors there are very few famous quotes attributed to Nikola Tesla. However, those quotes which we do know of are profound.

Nikola Tesla is the inventor who I find invokes the most passionate responses from students of science history, Nikola Tesla was the ultimate underdog, a genius who sufferered for his art [of inventing] and who did not receive recognization during his lifetime for his accomplishments. He is an inventor of mysterious caliber who brought to the world a system of alternative current electricity, radio, radar, and more, all inventions that the world gives credit for to other inventors, but in reality the credit should have gone to Nikola Tesla all along, who in modern times is now being recognized for those inventions.

In quoting Nikola Tesla, let me first borrow a quote about him made by Doctor Charles F Scott in the August, 1943 edition of Electrical Engineering. “The evolution of electric power from the discovery of Faraday in 1831 to the initial great installation of the Nikola Tesla polyphase system in 1896 [at Niagara Falls] is undoubtedly the most tremendous event in all engineering history.”

However, this may well have been Tesla's reply to Scott's commentary made after Tesla's death in 1943. In 1930 Tesla wrote, "I predict that very shortly the old-fashioned incandescent lamp, having a filament heated to brightness by the passage of electric current through it, will entirely disappear." Tesla was and always will be a man ahead of his time.

Learn More - Biography of Nikola Tesla

Quotes of Nikola Tesla

Let the future tell the truth, and evaluate each one according to his work and accomplishments. The present is theirs; the future, for which I have really worked, is mine.

If this does not appeal to you sufficiently to recognize in me a discoverer of principles, do me, at least, the justice of calling me an "inventor of some beautiful pieces of electrical apparatus.

I do not think there is any thrill that can go through the human heart like that felt by the inventor as he sees some creation of the brain unfolding to success. Such emotions make a man forget food, sleep, friends, love, everything.

If the genius of invention were to reveal to-morrow the secret of immortality, of eternal beauty and youth, for which all humanity is aching, the same inexorable agents which prevent a mass from changing suddenly its velocity would likewise resist the force of the new knowledge until time gradually modifies human thought.

The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.

It is quite evident, though, that this squandering cannot go on indefinitely, for geological investigations prove our fuel stores to be limited. So great has been the drain on them of late years that the specter of exhaustion is looming up threateningly in the distance.

Today's scientists have substituted mathematics for experiments, and they wander off through equation after equation, and eventually build a structure which has no relation to reality.

The spread of civilisation may be likened to a fire; first, a feeble spark, next a flickering flame, then a mighty blaze, ever increasing in speed and power.

If I were ever assailed by doubt of ultimate success I would dismiss it by remembering the words of that great philosopher, Lord Kelvin, who after witnessing some of my experiments said to me with tears in his eyes: 'I am sure you will do it.

Our virtues and our failings are inseparable, like force and matter. When they separate, man is no more.

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