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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Nikola Tesla's 1917 Exclusive Interview with an Editor of The Electrical Experimenter Magazine

Nicola Tesla extended an interview with Associate Editor, H. Winfield Secor of The Electrical Experimenter’ magazine in 1917.  In the August issue, under the title “Tesla’s Views on Electricity and the War,” the world famous electrical inventor's avant-garde opinions were published as follows:

NIKOLA TESLA, one of the greatest of living electrical engineers and recipient of the seventh ‘Edison’ medal, has evolved several unique and far-reaching ideas which if developed and practically applied should help to partially, if not totally, solve the much discussed submarine menace and to provide a means whereby the enemy’s powder and shell magazines may be exploded at a distance of several miles.

There have been numerous stories bruited about by more or less irresponsible self-styled experts that certain American inventors, including Dr. Tesla, had invented among other things an electric ray to destroy or detect a submarine under water at a considerable distance.  Mr. Tesla very courteously granted the writer an interview and some of his ideas on electricity’s possible role in helping to end the great world-war are herein given:

“The all-absorbing topic of daily conversation at the present time is of course the “U-boat.”  Therefore, I made that subject my opening shot.

“Well,” said Dr. Tesla, “I have several distinct ideas regarding the subjugation of the submarine.  But lest we forget, let us not underestimate the efficiency of the means available for carrying on submarine warfare.  We may use microphones to detect the submarine, but on the other hand the submarine commander may employ microphones to locate a ship and even torpedo it by the range thus found, without over showing his periscope above water.

“Many years ago, while serving in the capacity of chief electrician for an electric plant situated on the river Seine in France, I had occasion to require for certain testing purposes an extremely sensitive galvanometer.  In those days the quartz fiber was an unknown quantity—and I, by becoming specially adept, managed to produce an extremely fine cocoon fiber for the galvanometer suspension.  Further, the galvanometer proved very sensitive for the location in which it was to be used, so a special cement base was sunk in the ground, and by using a lead sub-base suspended on springs, all mechanical shock and vibration effects were finally gotten rid of.

“As a matter of actual personal experience,” said Dr. Tesla, “it became a fact that the small iron-hull steam mail-packets (ships) plying up and down the river Seine at a distance of 3 miles would distinctly affect the galvanometer!”

“How could this be applied to the submarine problem?” I asked.

“Well, for one thing,” the scientist replied, “I believe the magnetic method of locating or indicating the presence of an iron or steel mass might prove very practical in locating a hidden submarine. And it is of course of paramount importance that we do find a means of accurately locating the sub-sea fighters when they are submerged, so that we can, with this information, be ready to close in on them when they attempt to come to the surface. Especially is this important when several vessels are traveling in fleet formation; the location and presence of the enemy submarine can be radiographed to the other vessels by the one doing the magnetic surveying and, by means of nets in some cases, or gun-fire and the use of hydro-aeroplanes sent aloft from the ships, the enemy under water stands a mighty good chance of being either ‘bombed,’ shelled or netted.

“However, a means would soon be found of nullifying this magnetic detector of the submerged undersea war-craft. They might make the ‘U-boat’ hulls of some non-magnetic metal, such as copper, brass, or aluminum. It is a good rule to always keep in mind that for practically every good invention of such a kind as this, there has always been invented an opposite, and equally efficient counteracting invention.”

“How about this new electric ray method of locating submarines?” I ventured to ask.

“Yes, yes, I am coming to that,” the master electrician parried.  “Now suppose that we erect on a vessel a large rectangular helice or inductance coil of insulated wire.  Actual experiments in my laboratory at Houston Street (New York City) have proven that the presence of a local iron mass such as the ship’s hull would not interfere with the action of this device.  To this coil of wire, measuring perhaps 400 feet in length by 70 feet in width (the breadth of the ship), we connect a source of extremely high frequency and very powerful oscillating current.  By this means there are radiated powerful oscillating electro-static currents, which as I have found by actual experiment in my Colorado tests some years ago, will first affect a metallic body (such as a submarine hull, even though made of brass or any other metal), and in turn cause that mass to react inductively on the exciting coil on the ship.  To locate an iron mass, it is not necessary to excite the coil with a high frequency current; the critical balance of the coil will be affected simply by the presence of the magnetic body.  To be able to accurately determine the direction and range of the enemy submarine, four exciting inductances should be used.**  With a single inductance, however, it would be possible to determine the location of a submarine by running the ship first in one direction and then in another, and noting whether the reactance effect caused by the presence of the submarine hull increased or decreased.  The radiating inductance must be very sharply attuned to the measuring apparatus installed on the ship, when no trouble will be found in detecting the presence of such a large metallic mass as a submarine, even at a distance of 5 to 6 miles; of this I feel confident from my past experiments in the realm of ultra-high frequency currents and potentials.”

“What particular experiments do you have in mind, Dr. Tesla?” I asked.

“The Colorado tests of 1898-1900.  Wonderful were the results obtained, both those anticipated as well as those unexpected.  As an example of what has been done with several hundred kilowatts of high frequency energy liberated, it was found that the dynamos in a power house six miles away were repeatedly burned out, due to the powerful high frequency currents set up in them, and which caused heavy sparks to jump through the windings and destroy the insulation!  The lightning arresters in the power house showed a stream of blue-white sparks passing between the metal plates to the earth connection.  I could walk on the sand (ordinarily considered a very good insulator) several hundred feet from my large high frequency oscillator, and sparks jumped from my shoes!  At such distances all incandescent lamps* glowed by wireless power, and banks of lamp, connected to a few turns of wire arranged in a coil on the ground, were lighted to full brilliancy.  The effect on metallic objects at considerable distances was really remarkable.

I asked him about the “Ulivi ray,” which was accorded considerable newspaper publicity some time ago.

“The ‘Ulivi ray’ really was transplanted from this country to Italy,” asserted Dr. Tesla.  “It was simply an adaptation of my ultra-powerful high-frequency phenomena as carried out in Colorado and cited previously.  With a powerful oscillator developing thousands of horsepower, it would become readily possible to detonate powder and munition magazines by means of the high frequency currents induced in every bit of metal even when located five to six miles away and more.  Even a powder can would have a potential of 6,000 to 7,000 volts induced in it at that distance.

“At the time of those tests, I succeeded in producing the most powerful X-rays ever seen.  I could stand at a distance of 100 feet from the X-ray apparatus and see the bones of the hand clearly with the aid of a fluoroscope screen; and I could have easily seen them at a distance several times this by utilizing suitable power.  In fact, I could not then procure X-ray generators to handle even a small fraction of the power I had available.  But I now have apparatus designed whereby this tremendous energy of hundred of kilowatts can be successfully transformed into X-rays.”

“Could these ultra-powerful and unusually penetrating X-rays be used to locate or destroy a submarine?”  I interjected.

“Now we are coming to the method of locating such hidden metal masses as submarines by an electric ray,” replied the electrical wizard.  “That is the thing which seems to hold great promises.  If we can shoot out a concentrated ray comprising a stream of minute electric charges vibrating electrically at tremendous frequency, say millions of cycles per second and then intercept the ray, after it has been reflected by a submarine hull for example, and cause this intercepted ray to illuminate a fluorescent screen (similar to the X-ray method) on the same or another ship, then our problem of locating the hidden submarine will have been solved.

“This electric ray would necessarily have to have an oscillation wave length extremely short, and here is where the great problem presents itself; i.e. to be able to develop a sufficiently short wave length and a large amount of power, say several thousand or even several hundred thousand horsepower.  I have produced oscillators having a wavelength of but a few millimeters.

“Suppose, for example, that a vessel is fitted with such an electric ray projector.  The average ship has available from say 10,000 to 15,000 H.P.  The exploring ray could be flashed out intermittently, and thus it would be possible to hurl forth a very formidable beam of pulsating electric energy, involving a discharge of hundreds of thousands of horsepower.  The electric energy would be taken from the ship’s plant for a fraction of a minute, only being absorbed at a tremendous rate by suitable condensers and other apparatus from which it could be liberated at any rate desired.

“Imagine that the ray has been shot out and that in sweeping through the water it encounters the hull of a submarine.  What happens?  Just this—The ray would be reflected, and by an appropriate device we would intercept and translate this reflected ray, as for instance by allowing the ray to impinge on a phosphorescent screen, acting in a similar way to the X-ray screen.  The ray would be invisible to the unaided eye.  The reflected ray could be firstly, intercepted by the one or more ships in the fleet, or secondly, it would be possible for the ship originating the ray to intercept the refracted portion by sending out the ray intermittently and also by taking advantage of what is known as the after-glow effect, which means that the ray would affect the registering screen an appreciable time after its origination.  This would be necessary to allow the ship to move forward sufficiently to get within range of the reflected ray from the submarine, as the reflection would not be in the same direction as the originating ray.

“Nikola Tesla, the Famous Electric Inventor, Has Propose Three Different Electrical Schemes for Locating Submerged Submarines.   The Reflected Ray Method is illustrated Above, the High Frequency Invisible Electric Ray, When reflected by a Submarine Hull, Causes Phosphorescent Screens on Another or Even the Same Ship to Glow, Giving Warning That the U-boats Are Near.”
“To make this clearer, consider that a concentrated ray from a searchlight is thrown on a balloon at night.  When the spot of light strikes the balloon, the latter at once becomes visible from many different angles.  The same effect would be created with the electric ray if properly applied.  When the ray struck the rough hull of a submarine, it would be reflected, but not in a centrated beam—it would spread out; which is just what we want.  Suppose several vessels are steaming along in company; it thus becomes evident that several of them will intercept the reflected ray and accordingly be warned of the presence of the submarine or submarines.  The vessels would at once lower their nets, if so equipped, order their gun crews to quarters and double the look-out watch.  The important thing to know is that submarines are present.  Forewarned is forearmed!

“The Teutons are clever, you know; very, very clever, but we shall beat them,” said Dr. Tesla confidently.

As an amateur radio operator (KB3ZU), I can attest to the fact that high frequency radiated power will light up the filaments in electric bulbs with no house current applied.  A few times, I inadvertently left the antenna disconnected while operating my 2,000-watt (PEP) linear amplifier in the 15 meter band, and I watched the filaments in all the turned-off incandescent bulbs in the room light up to about half-normal brilliancy when I spoke over the microphone loudly.  This was because of the maximum modulation being reached and my transmitter's output being improperly terminated—Larry Brian Radka.
**Here Tesla is proposing a form of RADAR (an acronym for Radio Detection And Ranging)—not fully developed until several years later.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Nikola Tesla - Mad Electricity

Nikola Tesla was born at midnight on July 9, 1856, in the village of Smiljan, in the province of Lika, Croatia—then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. His father was a Serbian Orthodox priest. His mother descended from eight generations of Serbian Orthodox priests. Tesla was the genius who ushered in the age of alternating-current electrical power.

Tesla had a vivid imagination and an intuitive way of developing scientific hypotheses. After seeing a demonstration of the "Gramme dynamo" (a machine that when operated in one direction is a generator, and when reversed is an electric motor), Tesla visualized a rotating magnetic field and developed plans for an induction motor applying the concept. This electric motor was the first step toward the successful application of alternating-current. Tesla used his imagination to prove and apply his hypotheses. Here is how he explained his creative process:

“Before I put a sketch on paper, the whole idea is worked out mentally. In my mind I change the construction, make improvements, and even operate the device. Without ever having drawn a sketch I can give the measurements of all parts to workmen, and when completed all these parts will fit, just as certainly as though I had made the actual drawings. It is immaterial to me whether I run my machine in my mind or test it in my shop. The inventions I have conceived in this way have always worked. In thirty years there has not been a single exception. My first electric motor, the vacuum wireless light, my turbine engine and many other devices have all been developed in exactly this way.”

Tesla completed his elementary education in Croatia. He continued his schooling in the Polytechnic School in Graz and finished at University of Prague. He worked as an electrical engineer in Germany, Hungary and France before emigrating to the United States in 1884.

Arriving in New York City with four cents in his pocket, Tesla found employment with Thomas Edison in New Jersey. Differences in style between the two men soon led to their separation. In 1885, George Westinghouse, founder of the Westinghouse Electric Company, bought patent rights to Tesla's system of alternating-current. The advantages of alternating-current over Edison's system of direct-current became apparent when Westinghouse successfully used Tesla's system to light the World Columbian Exposition at Chicago in 1893.

Tesla established a laboratory in New York City in 1887. His experiments ranged from an exploration of electrical resonance to studies of various lighting systems. To counter fears of alternating-current, Tesla gave exhibitions in his laboratory in which he lighted lamps without wires by allowing electricity to flow through his body.

When Tesla became a United States citizen in 1891, he was at the peak of his creative powers. He developed in rapid succession the induction motor, new types of generators and transformers, a system of alternating-current power transmission, fluorescent lights, and a new type of steam turbine. He also became intrigued with wireless transmission of power.

In 1900, Tesla began construction on Long Island of a wireless broadcasting tower. The project was funded with $150,000 capital from financier J. Pierpont Morgan. The project was abandoned when Morgan withdrew his financial support. Tesla's work shifted to turbines and other projects, but his ideas remained on the drawing board due to a lack of funds. Tesla's notebooks are still examined by engineers in search of unexploited ideas.

Tesla allowed himself few close friends, although one was humorist and author, Mark Twain. However, when he died in New York City on January 7, 1943, hundreds of admirers attended his funeral services, mourning the loss of a great genius. At the time of his death Tesla held over 700 patents.

Video is clipped from History Channel's Modern Marvels Nikola Tesla - Mad Electricity.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Who's smarter, boys or girls?

War equality in school - who, according to the research and psychologists, is smarter. Girls with work habits are "stronger" in the language, and weaker in mathematics.

In the eternal battle of sexes, the battle turns alternately getting sometimes better and sometimes stronger sex, but the war never to be finished. A recent experiment at the University of Kent in England was re-opened the old battle field – whi is smarter boys or girls. Conclusion of the study is that for the fourth year of girls believe they are smarter and boys to the same point of coming up with seven years. The experience and studies show that boys, although small ladies are more successful students and have better work habits, still do better in life.

Psychologists do not argue the differences in the structure of male and female brain, and concluded that the "weaker" sex is stronger in language, and that a stronger sex is better in mathematics and mechanics. However, it is not proven, whose IQ is higher.

Numerous studies show that girls have a better vocabulary, they are stronger verbal, and boys to better understanding the mathematical and mechanical relationships. These differences are determined with the help of suptests in a test of intelligence. But very important factor in relation to the childrens - will they have more confidence or be "killed in the concept," because it affects the freedom that will come in solving problems.

Study in Kent, made on the basis of an experiment conducted among students of elementary lower grades, showed that boys achieve poor results if they have heard from they teachers that they are already expected to be worse than girls.

Science says that women are socially more intelligent than men, cuddly, resourceful, while men are better oriented in space and have a better view of things, why are more successful in mathematics, especially geometry.

According to the study of the differences between boys and girls, the Programme for International Student assessment of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), although women hawe the results better in school than men, stronger gender earn more, and often hold positions of power in the political and economic life.

Using this study, experts say, should not push boys or girls in certain professions, we should not propagate stereotypes or ignore those that are currently exceptions, but they give as bright examples.

Large differences in educational outcomes and the labor market for boys and girls, and how they arise is a question which should also deal with educators and parents. When children become older, the differences are more manifest.

In the "Mensa" organization has more men. The only reason for this "statistical anomaly" is that it is more men on the testing. But the girls who join make a better test.

So, when the girls are smart, they are very smart. The question is eternal and has always been about him breaking javelin. Men are somewhat more adept with his spear, and taken root delusion that they are smarter. Frequently touring the school and ask the children logical tasks, and my experience shows that girls are better at logical tasks with verbal or social-psychological basis - said one of the experts.

Intelligence is hard to define, there is more species, and is even more difficult to grade by gender something so varied and complex. The answer to the question of who is smarter men or a women, the mostly depends - which sex is the person you've asked it.

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