Nikola Tesla, named by The Oatmeal the “greatest geek who ever lived,” was born on this day in 1856. And on the occasion of his 157th birthday, we’d like to share this great talk about the inventor who held more than 700 patents, including ones for alternating current, the radio, the remote control, the electric motors and neon lighting. The talk, given by illusionist Marco Tempest at TED2012, celebrates Tesla’s inventive mind, but is not purely a celebration. The talk also tells the story of the project that was Tesla’s undoing — a wireless telegraphy center in upstate New York that he envisioned being used to contact other planets. He became a recluse.
All in all, on Tesla’s birthday, it’s a meditation on the innovative spirit — and the importance of giving great thinkers the opportunity to dream, try and occasionally fail.