The Master of
To the early Greeks, Zeus was the god who
controlled lightning. To Americans living in the
1890s, Nikola Tesla was the master of lightning.
Tesla was born in Europe and came to America
when he was 28. He arrived just as electricity
was first being used to light up cities like New
York. Tesla became very interested in
electricity. This interest would lead him to
develop an unusual device. Today, this device is
called a Tesla coil.
A Tesla coil produces electricity with a very high
voltage. Electricity from a wall socket in your
home has 110 volts. A Tesla coil can increase
this to over one million volts. A Tesla coil stores
this high voltage electricity.
A Tesla coil can suddenly release the high
voltage electricity as huge sparks. These sparks
can light up a room. This means a Tesla coil
changes electrical energy into light energy.
When energy changes into a different form, the
total amount of energy stays the same. Energy
is not lost when the Tesla coil releases its high
Even these power lines do not carry
electricity with the voltage that a
Tesla coil can produce.
As it gives off sparks, a Tesla coil also makes
crackling noises. In other words, a Tesla coil
also changes electrical energy into sound
energy. Some people have turned these sounds
into music. Tesla might have been interested in
the music that his coil can make. He discovered
that he could use a coil to send and receive
radio signals. The master of lightning is also
known as the father of radio.
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© 2007 Discovery Communications, LLC