Croatia Remembers Nikola Tesla on the 160th Anniversary of His Birth

By 10 July 2016

Tesla was born on 10 July 1856 in Smiljan in today’s Croatia.

Nikola Tesla, whose numerous inventions gained worldwide fame, was born exactly 160 years ago in Smiljan near Gospić, and the anniversary is being remembered in Croatia, reports on July 10, 2016.

The physicist from the Centre for the Advancement of Science, Humanism and Critical Thinking Slobodan Bosanac says that Tesla was "a symbol of all our giants” and the first in a series of exceptional scientists who came from Croatia. His spirit is global and we simply have to be proud of him, says Bosanac.

Tesla was raised in Smiljan and Gospić, where he finished elementary and junior high school. Remembering childhood, he once said that together with his father he practiced “strengthening of memory and reason”. He thought that, after the completion of a high school in Karlovac, he would have to follow in his father's footsteps and become an Orthodox priest. However, his father let him choose his own career. Therefore, he enrolled at the Higher Polytechnic School in Graz. Later, he also tried to go to study in Prague, and much later, in 1894, he received honorary doctorates from distinguished Universities of Columbia and Yale in the United States, as well as numerous other awards.

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Tesla spent most of his life in the United States, working in different companies and laboratories, including those that he himself founded. Tesla was a man of the world. He was born and raised in Croatia, but America enabled him to become what he has become, says Bosanac.

In the USA, he patented around 700 inventions in the field of electrical engineering and radio. He designed the first AC electricity power plant, as well as the first Croatian hydroelectric power plant on the Krka river. He also worked on the idea to use the upper parts of the atmosphere for transmission of electricity from one end of the globe to another, as well as on the idea to light up the dark side of the Earth.

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In 1917, Tesla received the Edison Medal, the highest award in the field of research of electricity in the United States, and the international unit of magnetic field strength was named after him.

In 2006, a memorial to Tesla was inaugurated in Smiljan. Also, many streets are called after Tesla, as well as several schools, a college, a company, a state prize for science, and a state medal. But, the most that could be done for Tesla would be to improve the educational system in Croatia: to enable young people to have access to knowledge and good teachers. School curricula should also include not only Tesla's inventions, but the Tesla himself, just like students learn about great writers, says Bosanac.