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In Our Time

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Nikola Tesla

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the Serbian-American inventor Nikola Tesla (1856-1943) and his role in the development of electrical systems towards the end of the nineteenth century. He made his name in New York in the contest over which current should flow into homes and factories in America. Some such as Edison backed direct current or DC while others such as Westinghouse backed alternating current or AC and Nikola Tesla’s invention of a motor that worked on AC swung it for the alternating system that went on to power the modern age. He ensured his reputation and ideas burnt brightly for the next decades, making him synonymous with the lone, genius inventor of the new science fiction. With Simon Schaffer Emeritus Fellow of Darwin College, University of Cambridge Jill Jonnes Historian and author of “Empires of Light: Edison, Tesla, Westinghouse and the Race to Electrify the World” And Iwan Morus Professor of History at Aberystwyth University Producer: Simon Tillotson Reading list: W. Bernard Carlson, Tesla: Inventor of the Electrical Age (Princeton University Press, 2013) Margaret Cheney and Robert Uth, Tesla: Master of Lightning (Barnes & Noble Books, 1999) Thomas P. Hughes, Networks of Power: Electrification in Western Society, 1880-1930 (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1983) Carolyn Marvin, When Old Technologies Were New (Open University Press, 1988) Iwan Rhys Morus, Nikola Tesla and the Electrical Future (Icon Books, 2019) Iwan Rhys Morus, How The Victorians Took Us To The Moon (Icon, 2022) David E. Nye, Electrifying America: Social Meanings of a New Technology (MIT Press, 1991) John J. O’Neill, Prodigal Genius: The Life of Nikola Tesla (first published 1944; Cosimo Classics, 2006) Marc J. Seifer, Wizard: The Life and Times of Nikola Tesla, Biography of a Genius (first published 1996; Citadel Press, 2016) Nikola Tesla, My Inventions: The Autobiography of Nikola Tesla (first published 1919; Martino Fine Books, 2011) Nikola Tesla, My Inventions and other Writings (Penguin, 2012) In Our Time is a BBC Studios Audio production

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