Tesla’s twilight years
By Hamish Johnston
You just can’t pick up the papers these days without coming across an eccentric physicist.
Now it’s Nikola Tesla, who is the hero of a book that has just been short-listed for this year’s Orange Prize for Fiction.
The Invention of Everything Else by Samantha Hunt is a fictional account of Tesla’s twilight years in New York City.
Tesla was one of the most famous inventors at the turn of the last century. He was a pioneer in wireless communications and the wireless transmission of energy. And of course, the SI unit of magnetic field strength is name after him.
He had many strange ways — apparently he only stayed in a hotel room if its number was a multiple of three — and neglected to secure the rights to many of his inventions. As a result, he lived out his later years in poverty and obscurity.