Jonathan Wenegeime

Guest Writer

Nikola Tesla and his works have often been overlooked by the scientific world. Only recently has his work been more appreciated, considering his influence as a catalyst to the success of electricity flow many objects we now use in our everyday lives.

Tesla was born to a Serbian family in Croatia and studied engineering in his collegiate days in Austria. Soon after, in 1884, he immigrated to America for better opportunities to bring life to his innovative ideas.

In the span of a decade, his name was heard all around the country, and he was even rivaled by Thomas Edison. Tesla’s work involved the alternating current (AC), which would lead to the invention of radios, remote controls, speakers, and much more.

Tesla’s groundbreaking work was accomplished in Colorado Springs in 1889. This is where his idea of the Tesla coil originated, and he worked on many experiments while here. It is very fitting that the Tesla exhibit, paying tribute to some of his proficient ideas, would be in the Cornerstone Arts Space.

When I entered the exhibit, I heard a thrilling, thunderous sound come from the wall to my left. On that wall hangs an art piece known as Negative Differential Resistance by Matthew Ostrowski.

This display involved fluorescent lamps reacting in various manners. The way that these lamps and their amplification were being controlled from an unseen computer was fascinating. The flashing lights alternated between different lamps, and the high volume sound reverberated throughout the room. This was all a tribute to Tesla’s work with phosphorescent lumination, which paved the way to the invention of fluorescent lighting.

Next, I saw a little bronze soldier and a broken bulb in a small glass container named Overpower and created by Michel de Broin. The sword the knight wields contains 10,000 volts of electricity, which is used to ignite the light bulb.

A shiny violet light emitted from one piece led me to an installment called Photonic Wind, by Dmitry Gelfand and Evelina Domnitch. This installment looked to defy the laws of gravity as the laser beam was used to levitate diamond dust within the vacuum chamber displayed.

Tesla attempted to see the limits of luminescence in some of his work and this piece is a perfect example. It combines physics and chemistry to observe electromagnetism through the diamond dust and the laser beam. It was very hard to see at first, but when I had a closer look, I saw little particles floating in the beam. The sight was absolutely beautiful.

At the end of my visit, I found myself looking at a rock with wires all over it. It was very strange, but I knew it had to be something cool. I later found out that it was the prime example of the art series known as Tesla Radio Rock. I had no clue that some rocks had the ability to capture and transmit live sound. (Students, if you’re running low on money for speakers, this could be a great investment! PlayHard?)

The rock itself amplifies the radio waves received from the Tesla coils attached to an MP3 player. As previously stated, Tesla’s work involving alternating current lead to the making of the radio. This section of the exhibit was very interesting and really captured my attention.

Finally, there was a piece at the end of the wall to the back to the exhibit called the Radio Tesla by a group called neuroTransmitter. They set out to reconstruct Tesla’s Wardenclyffe Tower with actual wires. Tesla wanted his tower to be the first wireless communication system to transmit sound and electricity across the globe. Although this plan never came to fruition, this man’s desire to push the boundaries and think outside the box demands respect.

It was such an honor to experience the Tesla exhibit because it not only displayed beautiful art pieces that capture the eye of scientists and other visitors, but it also fully displayed a man who wanted to change the face of science, and that’s exactly what he did. I highly recommend that everyone should check out the exhibit before it closes. You will not be disappointed.

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