The story doing the rounds on the internet lately is that Einstein, the year he won the Noble Prize, was asked by a reporter how it felt to be the smartest man alive. He answered "I don't know, you'd have to ask Nikola Tesla."
And I can't find any attribution for the quote, so it's probably like the literally throngs of things we make up and attribute to Einstein, but it's a nice sentiment. And Tesla was absolutely a genius. You'd be quicker naming a modern invention that wasn't somehow connected to his work(if you can find one) than naming all the ones that are. Not just AC/DC power, but neon lights and robotics and radio control and wireless communication and...
Hold on, I'm trying to make myself stop petting the computer screen.
Anyway, where were we? I don't know, I've lost it now. While we're off in left field, the attribution for that picture there is here (it's a CHALK DRAWING) under this license. And I'm telling you that now, in the big letters, because if you go to the original there's a link to a video that's apparently connected (I have literally no clue how, it's in French and the subtitles didn't help much) and is possibly the strangest thing I've ever seen. Seriously. It's also not really work or child safe, fyi.
But I'll narrow it down to three things I didn't know about him before I started writing this.
1) In middle age he was close friends with Mark Twain, and they spent lots of time together in his lab. Clearly Mark Twain was a braver soul than I. I've seen the picture of the lightning and the cat. You couldn't pay me.
2) When Tesla died in 1943 the government seized all of his things they could get their hands on, by fair means or foul. And I knew that. I did not know that they'd released 'most' of his file in 1980 under the freedom of information act. You can see it here at the FBI archive. And it's two-hundred and forty-nine pages, but the first one is the best. I really want to know who wrote that to Hoover.
3) Of bearing to literally no one but me, we share a birthday. My mother shares a birthday with Hitler. I win.
And I'm finishing with a quote, because this is starting to get long enough I need to walk away.
“My brain is only a receiver, in the Universe there is a core from which we obtain knowledge, strength and inspiration. I have not penetrated into the secrets of this core, but I know that it exists.”