Is Nikola Tesla Overrated?
Oh my gosh, we forgot Nikola Tesla’s birthday. Please don’t be mad, internet. To make up for it, here’s this video from Cracked.com claiming that Tesla is the most overrated scientist of all time.
Unless you’re over age 30 and actually majored in science at some point, much of your common knowledge of Tesla probably comes from this ranty comic from The Oatmeal (which, all controversy aside, is still pretty funny):
But Cracked makes the case that far from being the reclusive, unappreciated weirdo that The Oatmeal and Tumblr want him to be, Tesla received plenty of credit for his 112 patents, held sold-out lectures and hung out with luminaries like John Muir and Mark Twain.
The current popular image of him as a crazy scientific wizard comes from a 1944 biography written by a friend of Tesla’s, John J. O’Neill, who didn’t include endnotes to back up his claims. Meanwhile Thomas Edison, the guy we all like to bash as an evil corporatist who stole other people’s ideas, still deserves credit as a real scientist and great businessman who simply participated in a proud scientific tradition of building on the work of one’s colleagues.
So is all this true, or we about to bring an avalanche of internet nerd rage down on our heads?