“The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.” Nicola Tesla
In the beginning of the 20th century Nicola Tesla (1) was a well established inventor with most of his research focusing on what we could do with electricity.
By 1879 Edison had invented the electric light bulb and this one invention created a huge demand for electrified homes and commercial buildings around the world. Previous we relied on gas lamps and oil lamps, so this was a quantum leap for mankind.
Tesla and Edison saw the need for power companies with electrical generators that could transfer electricity over long distances. But, they disagreed on which form electrical transmission should take, AC or DC and winner was going to reap millions.
Tesla won with AC generation and of course today AC (alternating current) is the standard used around world.
In the early stage, electrical transmission was done via neighborhood generators, this was both expensive and inefficient. Electrical wiring also had it’s drawbacks and still does, with regular maintenance needed to power lines and poles. So, Tesla began looking for a way to transmit electricity over long distances and without the use of wires! That would have been an advancement far exceeding Edison’s light bulb.
Early tests proved Tesla was able to send electricity up to 1/8th mile without the use of wire, which is more than we can today. His idea was to eventually provide homes with virtually free electric energy, however his financial backers discovered his true intentions of giving away electricity, they backed out. Not a lot is known about this particular Tesla experiment and it appears the secret of transmitting electricity without wires died with him or did it?
Modern physics has come a long way since Tesla’s time and what we’ve discovered says Tesla might have been on to something big! Today, we know that light is an electro-magnetic field and that electricity can be affected by light, thus there exists at least at the sub-atomic level, a light/electricity commonality. Actually, a physicist by the name of Max Planck demonstrated this when proved he could knock electrons off a polarized copper sheet using nothing but ultraviolet light.
Why is this important, you may wonder? Because it is the first known manipulation electrons by light and Tesla was trying to direct electricity much like a beam of light!
Was Tesla aware that it is possible to manipulate electrons using a certain frequency of light, as Planck demonstrated? And if so, could he have known that by concentrating light, much like a laser, we could create a sort of carrier wave for the transmission of electrons?
My theory is, yes and yes, Tesla was on to it and it may have come from Planck’s experiments. Now, had he perfected his idea it would have advanced civilization by 200 years or more. Then again, he might has sent us back to the stone age if his theory was used to develop electrified light beam weapons. Imagine, being able to focus a laser onto a target and then zap it with electrons (like artificial lightening bolt). There would be no defense to such a weapon. Potentially, you could slice a missile or plane in cleanly in half faster than a plasma cutter could punch a hole thru butter.
Hollywood had the idea, but they lacked the theoretical foundation to understand how close they really were. They just knew it looked cool to arm spacemen with light guns! Oddly, this fantasy is turning into a reality, much like the Jules Vern stories about space travel.
I believe in the years to come, we will see electricity transmitted without wires and possibly inside a light beam. If that happens, I imagine it would be nearly invisible. it would be a sort of virtual tube to contain the flow of electrons from point A to point B. Exactly what that light might be (what spectrum it may be) or what frequency would be needed to contain the flow is something for future scientists to determine. But, it is interesting to think about.
In order to appreciate what was just said above, you might like to mull over these questions. The answers are out here:
Q. What is the similarity between light and electricity? (We know they are both forms of kinetic energy, but what else?)
Q. What’s the difference between a photon and an electron?
Q. Does light have a frequency?
Q. Does electricity have a frequency?
Q. Is electricity a wave or a particle, how about light, wave or particle?
Q. Why does ultraviolet light move electrons, but infrared light does not?
- Nikola Tesla was a Serbian-American inventor, electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, physicist, and futurist best known for his contributions to the design of the modern alternating current electricity supply system. Born: July 10, 1856, Smiljan, Croatia Died: January 7, 1943, Wyndham New Yorker Hotel, New York City, NY. Education: Graz University of Technology (1875-1878), Gymnasium Karlovac (1870-1873)
Other Sources: Boundless. “Planck’s Quantum Theory.” Boundless Chemistry Boundless, 08 Aug. 2016. Retrieved 23 Dec. 2016 from https://www.boundless.com/chemistry/textbooks/boundless-chemistry-textbook/introduction-to-quantum-theory-7/the-nature-of-light-63/planck-s-quantum-theory-296-7514/