1. Nikola Tesla was an inventor, physicist and engineer. One of his greatest inventions was alternating current (AC), the means of electricity that powers civilization and is crucial for lighting.

2. Tesla, who credited reading author Mark Twain’s writing for his recovery from serious illness, became very good friends with Mark Twain.

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Mark Twain.

3. Thomas Edison offered Tesla $50,000 to improve his existing system of generating electricity. Tesla succeeded—but Edison explained that he had just been joking. Tesla promptly quit.

4. Tesla may have suffered from what is known today as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), according to some who detailed his obsessive rituals and superstitions.

5. Tesla did not marry. According to an entry on Wikipedia, Tesla once said that he felt he could never be worthy enough for a woman. He devoted himself to studying science.

6. Tesla spoke eight languages and may have had a photographic memory.

Nikola Tesla. 1880.

7. Tesla’s AC conflicted with Edison’s direct current (DC), which required power plants to be constructed within every square mile, making DC inefficient compared to AC.

8. Edison held ghoulish public exhibitions of electrocutions of animals to demonstrate that AC was too dangerous to use (this is about Edison, but it relates to his rivalry with Tesla).

9. Tesla was 6 feet 4 inches tall.

10. Tesla, who believed that romantic intimacy would interfere with his research, once said that he was in love with a white pigeon. Toward the end of his life, he recalled: “I loved that pigeon as a man loves a woman, and she loved me. As long as I had her, there was a purpose to my life.”

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