RE: Tesla Quote
>Date: Fri, 19 Jul 1996 03:25:08 -0600
>From: Tesla List <tesla-at-poodle.pupman-dot-com>
>Subject: Tesla Quote
>From hullr-at-whitlock-dot-comThu Jul 18 22:32:09 1996
>Date: Thu, 18 Jul 1996 10:28:14 -0700
>From: Richard Hull <hullr-at-whitlock-dot-com>
>Subject: Tesla Quote
>I found a masterful quote by Tesla in an old issue of "Modern Mechanics
>and Inventions" July 1934. I thought it might amuse and interest a
>number of folks so here it is.
>"The scientists from Franklin to Morse were clear thinkers and did not
>produce erroneous theories. 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."
>"Todays scientists have substituted mathematics for experiments and they
>wander off through equation after equation and eventually build a
>structure which has no relation to reality."
>Well spoken, I thought.
Certainly well spoken, with some truth in it, and at the same time
it was rather sweeping and ignorant and betrays a character defect,
or shall we just call it an eccentricity?, in the man. You know,
there is NO WAY he could have been up on all the research and the
theories and still have said those things. I feel therefore that
he MUST have imposed a willful ignorance upon himself in this area.
I think it also shows he was just a little too much in love with
his own ideas. The Tesla fanatics should take note of this and
learn from it. There are a whole bunch of Tesla Coil enthusiasts
who think that if they build the biggest and best TC out there they
are going to discover some new laws of physics or maybe even
reproduce something along the lines of that phony Philadelphia
experiment. In other words they believe the TC is magic and they
take Tesla as a demigod. I believe they need to be shocked into
>The wise will extract the truth from the above
Yes, and reject the falsehood.
> I will admit that I am no Nikola Tesla fanatic as are many of
>the Tesla buffs. I am quite pragmatic as regards the fellow. I have
>seen him in the light of truth as a man who was wise beyond his time, but
>absolutely set in his path on some issues. He was too much of a showman
>for my tastes and expended his efforts mostly for show. Often this was
>for cause, though. He used wild demonstrations to impress the rich and
>famous in an effort to secure funds for his next great plan.
>Unfortunately his plans kept getting more grandiose and the rich became
>wise to his methods and soon realized that others who had funded Tesla
>never saw a penny returned. He was indeed pure genius with great
>eccentricities which played well in Victorian times. But, as people
>marched into the 20th century, and became more worldly, such foibles went
>from an accepted part-and-parcel of a gentleman genius to the traits of
>a frustrated looney.
>Tesla never believed in much of the then developing atomic theory. He
>spurned it to his dying day. He seemed "out of it" in his later years.
>Still, the more I study and learn about the physical goings on of things,
>I find his wisdom coming through more and more. I have learned to never
>swallow a scientific theory or the concept of "great genius" as a
>mindless icon without a bit of investigation.
>Richard Hull, TCBOR
And thus the intense need to back up theoretical physics with
experimental physics so we can use nature to filter our idea and
guide the construction of that mental scaffolding we call the
theoretical framework. The "erroneus theories" of which Tesla
speaks are part of this scaffolding, be it a temporary part, just
to see how things fit. I wonder how Tesla would have done at
astrophysics. If it weren't for the theorists and experimental
particle physicists' confirming and refining the theorists' ideas,
then we wouldn't have such a nice model of a supernova that we do
In Tesla's day, things were changing from intensely experimental
physics (which could be done relatively cheaply) to theoretical
physics. This is because the experiments that the physicists were
then capable of predicting could not be done with the engineering
of the time, and, in fact, the theoretical physics actually
**drove** the engineering of the time, as it does today.
The Standard Model, then under development, has since proved to be
*the* most successful physics model ever invented by man. So much
for Tesla's disklike of that theory. It is ALSO why I have tried
to wake up the Tesla Fanatics for years now in my saying that we
today know much more about physics than Tesla did. Now
*engineering* (applied physics) is a different story. Tesla was a
genius at that. But first you have to discover the physics before
you can do the engineering. And that is where theoretical physics
comes into play. I would have thought that a man as sensitive as
Tesla was about numbers would have appreciated the mathematicians
and their particular contribution to theoretical physics. But no.
Tesla's spurning of the theorists was in part responsible for his
eventual outcome, in my opinion. His attitude was shortsighted and
wrong then and it's wrong now. I agree with your idea that one must
*extract* the truth from Tesla's words. Certainly, one would be
foolish just to swallow them hook, line, and sinker.
But this is NOT to say that no theorists are whackos or that no
theorists come up with whacko ideas - because they certainly do
come up with some doozies. Like the one about electric fields
cancelling gravity by Bearden et al. I'd be hard pressed to come
up with some better example of a whacko idea than that, in my
Fred W. Bach , Operations Group | Internet: music-at-triumf.ca
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