Recently there was a movement to generate funding for a Tesla museum at his old lab in Wardenclyffe. This movement has succeeded in a major way. They have received more donations than required and should be able to start an official Tesla Museum in its rightful place.
This is all exciting and endearing. Seeing people come together for such a great cause. Yet, some articles sighting this action seem almost flippant about Tesla. More to the point, they come off as having very little understanding of the man and why us "nerds" think he was so great. There is the usual comparison to Edison and the continued battle of AC versus DC, FIGHT! Sorry, I couldn't help it and neither can they. If you see this as a tech geek version of the Hatfields and the McCoys, sans the top bill actors, then you are wrong. If you see Tesla as a general tinker type working in his garage trying to stick it to Edison, then you are also wrong. These are just the common misconceptions of those that have not taken the time to do the research. Who may glance at an article or see an episode on the History channel and now feel, "well informed" on the subject.
Let me say, I am no Fan-Boy of either gentleman as far as their applied technology. Alternating Current and Direct Current are both sides of the same coin. They are required in our daily lives in such a way that we take them completely for granted. Without Edison's DC, we would not have the current required in our electronics, which have enhanced our lives in so many ways. Without Tesla's AC, you would have no way to power those devices, without it being a world filled with gangling cables and power transformers every block or so. Further, Tesla created many core components to the devices we use everyday. Without him you would not enjoy your wireless as we know it today.
Here is where it gets deeper. Looking at these two gentleman, you would expect similar admiration qualities. However, they are admired for two completely different reasons. Edison is really admired as a business man. He was a moderate scientist tinkerer and an avid business man. This is not to say it devalues his contributions, but just his perspective was completely different from Mr. Tesla. Edison knew that in business, if it could not be monetized it wasn't worth the time. I think this is still a core value taught in MBA programs, but I could be wrong.
Mr. Tesla was an altruistic idealist. He believed in his work as a way to make the world a better place for his fellow man. There are many instances where he gave up his own interests in order to save the whole. It was this that makes him great in the minds of many. Some may say having died a poor man made him unsuccessful. I think in Mr. Tesla's mind he felt the impact he made, the comfort he created for his fellow man, still is visible all around us is his success.
In my research it would also appear he might have had some mild autistic tendencies. At the very least he had some severe OCD. This quality probably allowed him to visualize his inventions before he ever built them physically. This alone is fairly admirable. He even notes in his autobiography how he never built anything that didn't work the way he had expected. Today this type of visualization takes large processing power to allow us to better understand our concepts applied to the real world. His computer was all in his mind. If you're a developer imagine your next project on the whole. Every line of code, every function, UI element, then write it down with no errors and no user issues. This would be the equivalent to Mr. Tesla's development style.
While Mr. Edison chased business concerns, Mr. Tesla worked for knowledge and understanding over the world around us. Even his involvement in the Philadelphia experiment would indicate a humanist over capitalist. If you're not familiar Tesla was designated Director, designed and built the high power electromagnetic systems used in this legendary "didn't happen" experiment. He discretely sabotaged it due to knowing what would happen already. This was his previously indicated foresight. It is also the ultimate reason why Tesla no longer provided his knowledge to the world. He understood, as Einstein came to, that once man understands the true components of the world around him, the sooner he will destroy himself.
Really, you owe not just your modern creature comforts and ability to blindly post to social networks from your cellphone to Mr. Tesla. You also owe to him the pleasant nature of these years for not having shown the world everything he figured out.