William & Myrtle Harris Distinguished Lectureship in Science and Civilization

Thursday, November 12, 2020
4:00pm to 5:00pm
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Online Event
Ideal and Illusion: The Rise and Fall of Nikola Tesla
W. Bernard Carlson, Joseph L. Vaughan Professor of Humanities; Chair, Engineering and Society Department; Professor of History, University of Virginia,
  • Public Event

In the late 19th century, Nikola Tesla made significant contributions to both the development of AC power technology and the basic ideas underlying radio. Yet at the same time, Tesla was an incredible showman, happy to give dazzling demonstrations and make outrageous predictions in newspaper interviews. To explain these two sides of Tesla, this lecture explores how he was an "idealist" inventor who sought the perfect experimental realization of a great idea or principle while skillfully selling his inventions to the public through mythmaking and illusion.

Click here to view the lecture poster.


For more information, please contact Sini Elvington by email at elvington@caltech.edu or visit the William and Myrtle Harris Distinguished Lectureship in Science and Civilization webpage.