Nikola Tesla Articles
How Tesla "Spoke" to Mars
Marinčić - Abramović
Aleksandar Marinčić, academician, curator of the Tesla Museum in Belgrade, belongs to a narrow circle of Tesla experts. He works in the museum that resides in a shadow, just as the most of the museums do. It was like that until members of Japanese Aum Shinrikyo cult, which bases its promotion on intellectual superiority and power, came. In order to obtain power, they recalled of Tesla and came to Belgrade. No matter how mystic and wrapped in secret their arrival was, regarding Tokyo subway poisoning (for which the cult was accused of), one thing is for sure - they awoke spiritual hunger for deeper knowledge of Tesla. That's what it was about in the interview with Marinčić.
“Parallel” interview was made with Dr. Velimir Abramović, young and broadly educated (he earned his doctorate at Faculty of Philosophy with dissertation “The Problem of Continuity in the Natural Philosophy of Leibniz and Boscovich “, which was published as a book and represents rarely inspirational scientific reading - An) scientist, whose views differ from those commonly accepted. Controversy implies. We believe that this intellectual duel, which delights scientifically oriented people - despite their declaration - will propel a new, deeper study of Tesla. So, as a scientist, he will belong to us not only ethnically, but also ethically.
Interview: Dr. Aleksandar Marinčić
- Tesla again among Serbs with the help of Japanese from Aum Shinrikyo cult. How do you judge that motive (warning, stimulus or something else)?
It is a common thing that strangers try to discover something directly from the Museum. They usually want documents and books. Individuals who want to study documents appear from time to time. We have done it many times for individuals who would come and study papers for days. Some of them became famous thanks to Tesla studies, like Margaret Cheney, who wrote the best Tesla biography so far. Then we received that call from Japan. We knew that the Japanese Society of Nikola Tesla was founded, we had some information about that...
- When was it founded?
I don't know the exact date, but as far as I understand the cause was a new book about Tesla which appeared in Japan. The writer was Japanese and they say it stirred up spirits in Japan. Afterward, it was translated by American writer Margaret Cheney, so it initiated a lot of interest for Tesla. Before that, a Japanese television had once come to the Museum, many years ago, and they had been making a report about Tesla. There is an interest, certainly, because Tesla showed up in Japan, at the world's fair.
“Aum Shinrikyo” in the Museum
- There are some notably educated scientists in the Aum Shinrikyo cult. What were they doing in the Belgrade Museum?
When they were negotiating with us to come we did not even dream about that it was a cult, neither anyone here who helped us with the organization told as about that, directly or indirectly. The Serbian Academy of Sciences and Ministry of Science and Technology knew about them, and we consulted them, we consulted archives and everyone when it came to their arrival. No one had the slightest idea that they could have been cult members. They did explain to us that they were coming against the will of their government, which was Pro-American, and which wouldn't have supported such scientific actions, and that they (the cult members) wished to continue to study Tesla's ideas and help us in doing that. And then they rushed on it. In the beginning, we explicitly told that it cannot be done that way. They said: “It doesn't matter, we will patiently wait for permits and everything needed. We brought a gift for the Museum, the apparatus for recording microfilms.” They were not impatient but extremely polite... With the help of the Ministry, we organized everything for them, visits to societies, institutes even monasteries in Serbia. They welcomed it, and they had a conversation in Japanese-Serbian Society. They weren't giving the impression that they were members of that kind of cult. They only wanted to study Tesla's transformer, the wireless transmission of energy. It's one of the most mysterious of Tesla's projects which he had not completed. There is a huge movement in the USA which wishes to study those projects, but again, those are individual, private societies, not government institutions or universities. At the end of the day, we had already gone through and examined all those materials we wished to give them for their studies. They don't have schemes, drawings; anything that could give you a chance to make something. After all, maybe it was taken in America during the period of those few years while Tesla's inheritance was without anyone's supervision. It could have been pulled out from the documents, because some materials, in my opinion, we do not possess. Let's say... some schemes, drawings, designs of his devices - there is nothing about it. His biographers said that he had not really been making those schemes and drawings; instead, he had been instructing engineers who would build it accordingly. However, there must be something we don't possess, such as structural and architectural drawings of his tower in Long Island where he wanted to make his final wireless energy transmission experiment. We don't have those drawings, the only thing we managed to find is probably a plan of basic construction, basic dimensions. Obviously, there is a possibility that many of Tesla's documents are “wondering” around, and I don't think about his inheritance only, but documents regarding his life and work. He corresponded a lot, wrote reports and sent them to companies, to the people there who had to communicate with him. We might not have all those papers. He was remarkably organized and luckily he preserved a lot, that's how we have around 150,000 documents in our archive (about 70,000 letters). What the Japanese wanted was only a small part of that; some 1,000 to 1,300 pages of Tesla's notes from Long Island. That was his laboratory and he had deemed he would carry out his wireless transmission tests there and that he would transmit signals to, let's say, Europe without difficulties. After their efforts to obtain permits the Japanese had finally received permits and we gave them some of our microfilms, therefore, we had never given them the originals neither we told them that we had them. As a precaution, I closed the archive and told everyone in the Museum that we didn't have documents, only microfilms. They knew that we had that and, with the apparatus they had brought, we copied them those recordings. They only had those 1,300 documents, pages that had all been checked. I had studied that for years and years and we even published some stuff. Yet, they persisted to see all the materials. People who studied that and whom I talked to realized that Tesla had some wrong assumptions, but he also had some interesting ideas, not that they were practically applicable, but they were very interesting because they indicated that he could see far ahead and some 50 to 60 years later some of these ideas were tested, examined, etc. For example, in 1974 Americans published a series of experiments with wireless energy transmission at very low frequencies and with that project they wanted to connect with submarines which were deep underwater. And then, in 1974, they finally realized that the system doesn't work, and not only for the wireless transmission of energy, but for communication neither, so they published everything with mentions of Tesla. Tesla never finished the tower for that kind of experiments. Presently, that tower is discussed a lot in America. Now it is a property of some company that wants to demolish it and build a construction. There's a committee fighting that and they asked me to come and help them to prevent the demolition. Just this morning an American woman called me, she said: “When will you come to America to help us?” I said: “When bombing and everything else ends, now is not the time for that.”
- Let's go back to that group of Japanese. What kind of a group was it?
There were six of them. Among them was an Electro engineer, a woman that was a physicist, a translator, and one of them was a bodyguard, protection, who turned out to be a suspect. That one had been a bodyguard of their leader. I read that he had been trialed for some criminal actions. Then there was a photographer, who was, I'd say, confused, and finally - a computer expert. That girl and the suspected one were the first to go to Japan. Her father was a scientist; he had some kind of a factory in Japan. The girl was telling me that her father had started to construct some strange devices which were not necessary for his factory. I found all that a bit suspicious and we stopped. No further cooperation exists, nothing. We had been expecting them to contact us afterward but so far nobody has called us. The two of the most suspicious ones had left first and then the other two left for Germany, to bring some equipment reportedly, because the equipment they brought was Japanese, and it should have been adapted to European system so it could be used; you cannot use it with Japanese symbols. They took only a part of the microfilms. When we tried some of the microfilm recordings we realized that almost all of them were useless. I can show you how it looks like. The apparatus is here, confiscated, and the man who had done it, our citizen - he simply disappeared. I closed our archive a year ago and it can be entered only in the presence of the people from the museum. We have never received funds to make that archive properly. For years we have been asking for funds for the new boxes. You'll have a look and you'll see that those boxes are almost broken. Our country doesn't have money for that. For what we have here and for the decent looking museum we can thank to Elektroprivreda Srbije (state-owned electric utility power company) and that, initially, it was a solid building. The City of Belgrade has always been helping, but the city doesn't have money.
So far, Belgrade has given us six to seven October Prizes (the October Prize of the City of Belgrade, Tn) for our work because, compared to other museums, we are probably at an advantage since Tesla's name means something. Veljko Korac, the former curator, did a lot; he had set up foundations of this museum with his authority as he was a respectable figure in the former regime. He managed to acquire this building. (The former residency of Djordje Gencic, Minister of police - An). Korac's grandfather was, as far as I know, the godfather of Tesla's family, so he was emotionally attached, he preserved it perfectly. He had been attacked all the time, so they continued that with me, like “you guard it, you don't give anything to anyone, and you yourself do nothing”. As I see it, people don't want to read it, to see what was published and study it, and then keep on going, they always want to find out something else. And now, with this technology (the Japanese technology) we have the possibility to make microfilms, so if someone wants to read let him read. But we have to work out what to give and to whom to give. It turned out it was dangerous just to give somebody to have a look at those materials. If there is somebody who wants to study it seriously we will give it, but that one has to seat here for months, years, days, and have funds for it.
Wireless Energy Transmission
- Have you tried to publish some editions and distribute them around the world? That “merchandise” could be sold, couldn't it?
Everybody wants to get something without paying for it. That's my experience. I don't want to talk about it any further.
- There is a kind of competition - which scientist would enter the pantheon of science. Where is Tesla's place in it?
One thing for sure is that his alternating current polyphase system is his greatest monument in the world because even today that system is applied everywhere. It started at Niagara Falls and spread around the world. It would be important that, in some way, everyone adds Tesla's name when they talk about systems of transmission and usage of wireless energy. Tesla has credits in other areas. He was one of the pioneers of radio technology, but in some peculiar way his name has been suppressed. From the very beginning, before the wireless energy transmission, he had been trying to transmit messages wirelessly. His main goal was to transmit energy because it was a more difficult problem, and everything else would be solved naturally. He considered that it had already been solved through his experiments. All the same, it was used to throw him on the “tracks” of wireless energy transmission, which never came to life, not even today, and the radio was taken over by others although he had outstanding radio analysis and projects. There is pioneering stuff which, you see, not even today is in its right place. This year, for example, is celebrated as a hundred years since the invention of radio. Marconi received Nobel Prize for the invention of radio, which was a great injustice against Tesla.
- You mentioned 1900 as an important year. Why?
Yes. In 1900 Marconi filed a patent for a basic system of wireless energy transmission, i.e. a signal for radio purposes. The USA didn't want to accept the patent. It lasted for a few years until he finally got copyright protection because there had been a dilemma if it were related to Tesla's works from 1897. They continued to work and Tesla almost left the field of radio and went to mechanical engineering. Suddenly, in 1916 the Marconi Company emerged with a suit against the USA for the reason of not paying taxes to the company for the use of radio. In its defense, America took Tesla as an argument that all that stuff had been started by Tesla so they had not had any liabilities. The process started in 1916 and ended in 1943; the Supreme Court of America overturned Marconi's patent, posthumously. Tesla died in 1943. According to that, it was proved posthumously. You see, those are very interesting documents and people should be interested in them. Those are real, historic documents and we are familiar with the entire trial and we possess the documents. It was published as a book which actually proves the primacy of what Tesla had done. And now, after all that, Tesla is not there as the inventor of radio!? Only in 1937 Tesla was proposed for Nobel Prize. It is said that there was a proposal in 1912 or 1915 - we haven't found that. However, in 1937 he was nominated for the prize and his name is among those who were nominated. Nevertheless, he did not win the prize. As far as I know, the explanation was that it was outdated!
- Who won the Nobel Prize that year?
Some other man, Tesla didn't get it. You see, it the patent trial had then been decided, maybe they would have chosen Tesla. However, Tesla never won the Nobel Prize but, in acknowledgment, he received something much bigger - it's a unit in the International System of Units, Tesla, the unit of magnetic induction, the world's greatest possible recognition in the science area because units are given only to truly extraordinary people. It was a fruit of activity of a few our men who were in the international bodies and, with the help of Frenchmen, they fought for Tesla's name.
- What is current about Tesla today?
Tesla was a remarkable person because, if I may simplify it, he could come out with some outstanding problems and place them in such forms that you cannot answer them in a quick and simple way. He set up a series of various problems that the world has not solved and used so far. A typical example is from the field of high-frequency currents. He thought he could control the weather with it. He deemed high voltage discharges to accelerate rainfalls. It was a practical and important piece of information for him, because clouds could be, somehow, brought over the Sahara, and then, by electrical means, clouds would be forced to drop the water. So, he was thinking about the global use of energy. His system of wireless energy transmission was considered as a copy of the Sun, because it gives us energy at every point of the globe, 12 hours a day and he thought it could be made on the Earth. He thought of an outer system which would be set on his so-called magnifying transmitter. Actually, it's a high voltage transformer, which would force the electrical field of the Earth to resonate and oscillate and you would have energy whenever you need it. That model of his, as he saw it, even today interests people. There were attempts to restore that experiment of his. We know about two attempts in America when those experiments were made (the famous one from Colorado Springs). Even higher voltages than those Tesla had produced were achieved, but the effects, which he had expected to “excite” the Earth's load and to receive it on the opposite pole of the Earth, did not appear. Unfortunately, so far we haven't seen a possibility that it could work efficiently, although, according to some effects, it does work the way Tesla saw it. He claimed that those oscillations, created by an antenna, would be strongest on the antipode and weakest on the equator. Until today's day, the problem of the antenna which would excite that system has not been solved. The world's greatest experts who studied that problem, and I know a few of them, did not believe it could be materialized. They even think that it will never be achieved. It takes time for the final answer.
- What are they doing in the USA regarding Tesla's legacy, how are they taking care of it?
I think they take care of what they got, of libraries they have. Oftentimes they call me from America. Belgrade museum is of special interest to “Tesla International” from Colorado Springs, the place where Tesla was performing his high voltages tests, and to “Tesla Memorial” from Niagara Falls. These two are the most famous of those who are in almost permanent contact with us. In Colorado Springs he performed his greatest, the most spectacular experiments with wireless transmission with huge bolts which he sent even to Mars, and so the astronomers recorded it and wondered about it. It was where he got the impression, as he said himself, that the wireless transmission of energy was possible. He had done it on a small scale and at a short distance, but he said that it only needed higher voltage, bigger and higher everything, and it would be done. Mark Twain was visiting him and admired what he was doing. He went to New York afterward and, with the help of others, made a large facility on Long Island. Morgan gave him $150,000; a famous architect constructed a building and probably didn't charge him much for the whole project. Westinghouse gave him a bunch of instruments... however, he never finished it.
- Which Tesla's invention has been brought into focus today... Now and then “Star Wars” is mentioned. What's it all about?
Tesla had a vision and he had particular ideas. In 1898 he constructed a remote controlled boat, which was controlled wirelessly, and then he had already intended it as a torpedo or a flying projectile. He considered that it would replace artillery. It hasn't yet been made because it is much more expensive. Otherwise, it is more lethal and simpler. This is not to be comprehended as if Tesla were a militant man; as if he wanted to produce some means for combat. He was, probably, a kind of utopist regarding his views that such means would be used for defense only and that it would eliminate war. That was his apprehension. He made a series of predictions for a future defensive war. His disposition was always defensive. He was saying that an impenetrable shield could be made. At that time, in the twenties and thirties, there were some ideas about it. He even offered the shield to English and American governments. We know about that, but they had always been ignoring him in all that. Although as a counselor he was consulted many times. For example, he was giving useful advice related to aviation development. In 1919 he had already been predicting that the future of aircraft was not in piston-engine planes, but in turboprop engines. Those were basic propeller planes, but in 1920 it was before its time. He was ahead of his time for at least twenty years. He also had patents for vertical take-off aircraft.
- That has already been made...
Yes, yes they built those planes on that basis. He even propagated some death rays. Professor Korug made it and demonstrated that experiment. With the help of Tesla's transformer he produced high voltage and instead of having a spark that moves freely in the space, he directed it by blowing particles of arranged powder and then the spark traveled along that powder. The most interesting thing is that those particles were accelerating and in that way he obtained greater energy. But he had been doing it in laboratory conditions - on a few meters distance and he claimed that mechanic effect existed and that there was clashing of particles, which was very intensive, and X-rays radiation. That is not something senseless. I have just come back from England and I have found in a magazine a description of a device for tumor treating. It is a needle through which the electrons accelerate, they hit the target, the target emits X-rays and they - after the needle gets stuck in the center of the tumor - kill that tumor.
These ideas cannot be finalized for use in warfare, but they are usable in other areas. They are not only his ideas. It must not be overextended, but he, obviously, had such thinking. I know for sure that he wanted, experiments were run to try to accelerate dielectric piece with the help of electrostatic energy. Americans performed those experiments, but not on a global level. It is intended for satellite-to-satellite warfare. To aim at a satellite from another satellite.
It can be done there, in the space vacuum. Tesla imagined constructing a cannon - which would have vacuumed space through which that piece would be accelerated with the electrostatics. When it flies out it goes through a special hydraulic diode. It is a sort of a “gun”, a robust device. But they moved it into higher layers of the atmosphere where they didn't need that Tesla's regulator. You have a vacuum and you have free space. It's not an easy thing to exit vacuum and enter free space, without spoiling the vacuum. He had an invention - a pipe - which lets it pass through one side but not the other.