Nikola Tesla

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Tesla’s writings anticipated radio, remote control, radar, medical diathermy, fluorescent and neon lamps, but in such vague, almost mystical terms that fellow scientists came to ignore them. By the time of his death in 1943 at the age of eighty-six, he was virtually forgotten.

Seven years earlier, Yugoslavia had honored him by establishing an institute in his name in Belgrade. The highest tribute accorded him by his adopted country was, ironically, the Edison Medal, which the American Institute of Electrical Engineers awarded him in 1917. Tesla turned it down at first because it was named for his bitter foe, and when he did agree to the presentation he had to be coaxed to the ceremony from a park where he was feeding pigeons.