Leadership

Is Nikola Tesla the greatest geek who ever lived?

If genius inventor and revolutionary thinker Nikola Tesla doesn't get your vote for the greatest geek ever, tell us who does and why in the comments section.

The Oatmeal's Matthew Inman created a comic that details why he thinks Nikola Tesla is the greatest geek who ever lived (and why Tesla is better than Thomas Edison). On TechRepublic, we have featured 30 of Tesla's patents, and referenced the inventor in at least two Geek Trivia posts, but we have yet to poll Geekend readers about where they think he ranks in terms of all-time greatest geeks... until now.

Check out these Tesla-related links

Thanks to TechRepublic's Mark Kaelin for The Oatmeal link.

About

Mary Weilage is a Senior Editor for CBS Interactive. She has worked for TechRepublic since 1999.

14 comments
anil_g
anil_g

who programmed all the DNA and taught Tesla everything he knew.

l_e_cox
l_e_cox

Tesla was a real inventor, a philosopher, and a person who thought his inventions could make a huge difference to the future of the planet. I think of geeks as more self-absorbed and focused than that. They want to solve a problem and it's all coffee and danishes until significant progress has been attained. I think the inventor of the LED comes closer to a true "modern" geek: Nick Holonyak.

mjd420nova
mjd420nova

The scientific research and implimentation of Edison's DC power distribution and Tesla's AC distribution systems began the battle between General Electric and Westinghouse. It was only the beginning of a huge infrastructure that now powers the world. What better praise for any visionary??

jdudeck
jdudeck

Tesla is certainly one of my heroes, but I think Charles (Carl) Steinmetz is the bigger geek. He developed the methods of engineering for alternating current power transmission, transformers, and motors, which were the keys to making electricity available to the world. He was a huge pop hero in his day.

Regulus
Regulus

But what do you think? Could Sheldon give him a run for the money? - C'mon, have fun with it !

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

Personally I would have thought that Da Vinci was more of a Historical Geek as he invented things that at the time couldn't be made but with more modern materials would have worked. More of a Great Thinker like Einstein maybe however. Col

Sterling chip Camden
Sterling chip Camden

If all that is written about him is true, he was centuries ahead of his time.

m@rcel
m@rcel

Maybe you have a point. The theoretical physicists are not that prominent as the practical physicists. Perhaps the theoretical are out of our legue?

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

This is because Geekity is theoretically infinite, but human ability to measure or appreciate Geekity is not. So everybody who goes through the roof is the GGE. Yes, all five of them. People who cannot accept this might be mistaking superlatives for mathematical operators :p ;)

seanferd
seanferd

is/are out of the league. No one pays any attention unless they have constant media presence. Theoretical physicists are super-geeks. It's just that it is quite an open-ended search that one may not know for decades whether the mathematical theories describe anything at all. That's on the more extreme end, though. So you never hear of them or their theories until there is some experimental physics available which might provide relevant data.

Sterling chip Camden
Sterling chip Camden

Mathematics is a language, but not all language is mathematical. In fact, most of it isn't.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

The Lazy Geek in me loves the idea of proving something mathematically and then telling others this is how it is if you don't believe me go disprove it by experimentation. Uncle Albert did just that and I love the idea of all the Smart A$$'s then trying to disprove the verdict. What can I say [b]I'm Lazy.[/b] :^0 Leonardo on the other hand made models and drawings of many devices which required many years to pass before they could be made. Ignore the Helicopter idea because that can never work mainly because there is nothing powerful enough to stop the Passenger platform from spinning while allowing the Air Screw to turn fast enough to provide the necessary lift. But the Gliders and so on where brilliant and if he had of had access to current materials they would have worked. Then just how much more advanced would we be. ;) Col

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

Many many scientist devote decades of intense effort to shift a single small piece of theory, one tiny bit at a time. Then there are the ones whose greatest impact is in the ones they teach. The Teslas, Einsteins, Saussures, Jespersens, etc. are out of the league of the regular out-of-leaguers too.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

both language and mathematics are codifications. "MATHEMATICS IS A LANGUAGE" is a metaphor, useful enough for describing the similarities... but I think they're probably both exemplars of a greater, more profound sort of system. A semiography or somehting like that. They are mappings between form and substance. In language, the form is sounds, their qualities and quantities and their temporal, linear distribution. In mathematics, the form is symbols for number, variable and operator. In language the substance is arbitrary slices of amorphous meaning, making up a system of denotation, with connotative and metaphoric smearing to create a non-discrete mass resembling the original amorphous mass of meaning. Linguistic meaning definitions are circular, they can only be learned empirically. In mathematics, the substance is more well-definable, and can be learned with less need of empirical nails.

Editor's Picks