Published in the UK by Headline
Everybody knows that Thomas Edison devised electric light and domestic electricity supplies, that Guglielmo Marconi thought up radio and George Westinghouse built the world's first hydro-electric power station. Everybody knows these 'facts' but they are wrong.
The man who dreamt up these things also invented, inter alia, the flourescent light, seismology, a worldwide data communcations network and a mechanical laxative. His name was Nikola Tesla, a Serbian-American scientist, and his is without doubt this century's greatest unsung scientific hero.
His life story is an extraordinary series of scientific triumphs followed by a catalogue of personal disasters. Perpetually unlucky and exploited by everyone around him, credit for Tesla's work was appropriated by several of the West's most famous entrepreneurs: Edison, Westinghouse and Marconi among them. After his death, information about Tesla was deliberately suppressed by the FBI.
Using Tesla's own writings, contemporary records, court transcripts and recently released FBI files, The Man who Invented the Twentieth Century pieces together for the first time the true extent of Tesla's scientific genius and tells the amazing tale of how his name came to be so widely forgotten.
Nikola Tesla is the engineer who gave his name to the unit of magnetic flux. The Man Who Invented the Twentieth Century. Robert's biography of his childhood hero was launched at the 1999 Orkney Science Festival, where Robert gave a talk on Tesla in conjunction with Andrej Detela from the Department of Low and Medium Energy Physics at the Jozef Stefan Institute in Ljubijana, Slovenia.
The Man Who Invented the Twentieth Century, which has just gone into paperback (ISBN 0-7472-6265-9) has received excellent reviews.
Robert Gaitskell, a vice-president of the Institution of Electrical Engineers, writing in the Times Higher Education Supplement, said:
"Robert Lomas is to be congratulated on an easy-to-read life of a tortured genius. The book not only takes takes us through the roller-coaster fortunes of Tesla, but also has well-constructed chapters on the history of electrical research and on lighting. Although dealing at times, with difficult technical concepts, it never succumbs to jargon and remains intelligible to the informed lay-person throughout. Every scientist or engineer would enjoy this tale of errant brilliance, and a younger student would be enthused towards a research career."
Angus Clarke, writing in the Times Metro Magazine said:
"Nikola Tesla is the forgotten genius of electricity. He invented or laid the groundwork for many things we take for granted today including alternating current, radio, fax and e-mail. A Croatian immigrant to America in 1884 Tesla combined genius with gaping character flaws and an uncanny ability to be ripped off by everyone. This is scientific popularisation at its most readable."
Engineering and Technology Magazine said:
"This book is fun, which is not something one often says about engineering books...Tesla is most widely known for the magnetic unit that bears his name, but sadly little else. This book is a thoroughly entertaining way of correcting that injustice, a must for engineers, especially electrical ones."
Even Uri Geller, writing in his Parascience Roundup had a few kinds words to say:
"It is the most extraordinary biography imaginable, the tale of a lonely boy who was disdained by his parents, who fled to America to make his fortune and became Thomas Edison's most brilliant engineer."