My Inventions and Other Writings

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The fascinating autobiography of the legendary inventor behind the radio, wireless energy, robotics, and much more.

Famous for his pioneering contributions to the electronic age, his lifelong feud with Thomas Edison, and his erratic behavior, Nikola Tesla was one of the most brilliant and daring inventors and visionaries of his time. My Inventions is Tesla's autobiography, with meditations on his major discoveries and innovations, including the rotating magnetic field, the magnifying transmitter, and the Tesla coil. This volume also includes three articles by Tesla, as well as an enlightening introduction that discredits many of the myths surrounding the thinker's eccentric life. This rare window into the industrial age's most tragic genius will fascinate historians, scientists, aspiring inventors, and curious fans alike.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Penguin
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Published on
Dec 27, 2011
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Pages
192
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ISBN
9781101565698
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Science & Technology
Science / Essays
Science / History
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Thomas Edison’s greatest invention? His own fame.

At the height of his fame Thomas Alva Edison was hailed as “the Napoleon of invention” and blazed in the public imagination as a virtual demigod. Starting with the first public demonstrations of the phonograph in 1878 and extending through the development of incandescent light and the first motion picture cameras, Edison’s name became emblematic of all the wonder and promise of the emerging age of technological marvels.

But as Randall Stross makes clear in this critical biography of the man who is arguably the most globally famous of all Americans, Thomas Edison’s greatest invention may have been his own celebrity. Edison was certainly a technical genius, but Stross excavates the man from layers of myth-making and separates his true achievements from his almost equally colossal failures. How much credit should Edison receive for the various inventions that have popularly been attributed to him—and how many of them resulted from both the inspiration and the perspiration of his rivals and even his own assistants?

This bold reassessment of Edison’s life and career answers this and many other important questions while telling the story of how he came upon his most famous inventions as a young man and spent the remainder of his long life trying to conjure similar success. We also meet his partners and competitors, presidents and entertainers, his close friend Henry Ford, the wives who competed with his work for his attention, and the children who tried to thrive in his shadow—all providing a fuller view of Edison’s life and times than has ever been offered before. The Wizard of Menlo Park reveals not only how Edison worked, but how he managed his own fame, becoming the first great celebrity of the modern age.

The first full-length biography of a brilliant, self-taught inventor whose innovations in information and energy technology continue to shape our world.

The Economist called Stanford R. Ovshinsky (1922–2012) “the Edison of our age,” but this apt comparison doesn't capture the full range of his achievements. As an independent, self-educated inventor, Ovshinsky not only created many important devices but also made fundamental discoveries in materials science. This book offers the first full-length biography of a visionary whose energy and information innovations continue to fuel our post-industrial economy.

In The Man Who Saw Tomorrow, Lillian Hoddeson and Peter Garrett tell the story of an unconventional genius with no formal education beyond high school who invented, among other things, the rechargeable nickel metal hydride batteries that have powered everything from portable electronics to hybrid cars, a system for mass-producing affordable thin-film solar panels, and rewritable CDs and DVDs. His most important discovery, the Ovshinsky effect, led to a paradigm shift in condensed matter physics and yielded phase-change memory, which is now enabling new advances in microelectronics. A son of the working class who began as a machinist and toolmaker, Ovshinsky focused his work on finding solutions to urgent social problems, and to pursue those goals, he founded Energy Conversion Devices, a unique research and development lab. At the end of his life, battered by personal and professional losses, Ovshinsky nevertheless kept working to combat global warming by making solar energy “cheaper than coal”—another of his many visions of a better tomorrow.

A prodigiously researched biography of Vannevar Bush, one of America’s most awe-inspiring polymaths and the secret force behind the biggest technological breakthroughs of the twentieth century.

As the inventor and public entrepreneur who launched the Manhattan Project, helped to create the military-industrial complex, conceived a permanent system of government support for science and engineering, and anticipated both the personal computer and the Internet, Vannevar Bush is the twentieth century’s Ben Franklin.

In this engaging look at one of America’s most awe-inspiring polymaths, writer G. Pascal Zachary brings to life an American original—a man of his time, ours, and beyond. Zachary details how Bush cofounded Raytheon and helped build one of the most powerful early computers in the world at MIT. During World War II, he served as Roosevelt’s adviser and chief contact on all matters of military technology, including the atomic bomb. He launched the Manhattan Project and oversaw a collection of 6,000 civilian scientists who designed scores of new weapons. After the war, his attention turned to the future. He wrote essays that anticipated the rise of the Internet and boldly equated national security with research strength, outlining a system of permanent federal funding for university research that endures to this day.

However, Bush’s hopeful vision of science and technology was leavened by an understanding of the darker possibilities. While cheering after witnessing the Trinity atomic test, he warned against the perils of a nuclear arms race. He led a secret appeal to convince President Truman not to test the Hydrogen Bomb and campaigned against the Red Scare.

Elegantly and expertly relayed by Zachary, Vannevar’s story is a grand tour of the digital leviathan we know as the modern American life.
In this “informative and delightful” (American Scientist) biography, Margaret Cheney explores the brilliant and prescient mind of Nikola Tesla, one of the twentieth century’s greatest scientists and inventors.

In Tesla: Man Out of Time, Margaret Cheney explores the brilliant and prescient mind of one of the twentieth century's greatest scientists and inventors. Called a madman by his enemies, a genius by others, and an enigma by nearly everyone, Nikola Tesla was, without a doubt, a trailblazing inventor who created astonishing, sometimes world-transforming devices that were virtually without theoretical precedent. Tesla not only discovered the rotating magnetic field -- the basis of most alternating-current machinery -- but also introduced us to the fundamentals of robotics, computers, and missile science. Almost supernaturally gifted, unfailingly flamboyant and neurotic, Tesla was troubled by an array of compulsions and phobias and was fond of extravagant, visionary experimentations. He was also a popular man-about-town, admired by men as diverse as Mark Twain and George Westinghouse, and adored by scores of society beauties.
From Tesla's childhood in Yugoslavia to his death in New York in the 1940s, Cheney paints a compelling human portrait and chronicles a lifetime of discoveries that radically altered -- and continue to alter -- the world in which we live. Tesla: Man Out of Time is an in-depth look at the seminal accomplishments of a scientific wizard and a thoughtful examination of the obsessions and eccentricities of the man behind the science.
“The story of one of the most prolific, independent, and iconoclastic inventors of this century . . . fascinating.”--Scientific American

Nikola Tesla (1856-1943), credited as the inspiration for radio, robots, and even radar, has been called the patron saint of modern electricity. Based on original material and previously unavailable documents, this acclaimed book is the definitive biography of the man considered by many to be the founding father of modern electrical technology. Among Tesla’s creations were the channeling of alternating current, fluorescent and neon lighting, wireless telegraphy, and the giant turbines that harnessed the power of Niagara Falls.

This essential biography is illustrated with sixteen pages of photographs, including the July 20, 1931, Time magazine cover for an issue celebrating the inventor’s career.

“A deep and comprehensive biography of a great engineer of early electrical science--likely to become the definitive biography. Highly recommended.”--American Association for the Advancement of Science

“Seifer's vivid, revelatory, exhaustively researched biography rescues pioneer inventor Nikola Tesla from cult status and restores him to his rightful place as a principal architect of the modern age.” --Publishers Weekly Starred Review

“[Wizard] brings the many complex facets of [Tesla's] personal and technical life together in to a cohesive whole....I highly recommend this biography of a great technologist.” --A.A. Mullin, U.S. Army Space and Strategic Defense Command, COMPUTING REVIEWS

“[Along with A Beautiful Mind] one of the five best biographies written on the brilliantly disturbed.”--WALL STREET JOURNAL

“Wizard is a compelling tale presenting a teeming, vivid world of science, technology, culture and human lives.”--NEW SCIENTIST

“Marc Seifer is an excellent writer and scholar, who has produced a wonderfully readable and illuminating biography of one of the most intriguing men of this century...mak[ing] us understand not only the man, but also the times in which he lived....[A] masterpiece.”--NELSON DEMILLE

“The author presents much new material...[and] bases his book on a large number of archival and primary sources....Underneath the layers of hero worship, the core of Seifer's book is a serious piece of scholarship.” --Ronald Kline, SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN

“Seifer has done a remarkable job going through all the Tesla manuscripts...ferret[ing] out hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles in which he traces out Tesla's public image [and] offers a reasonable reconstruction of Tesla's emotional world...Seifer has significantly advanced our understanding of Tesla.”--Bernard Carlson, author of Tesla: Inventor of the Electrical Age, for ISIS

“It is my opinion that Dr. Seifer leads the world as the most authoritative of all the Tesla researchers.”--J.W. McGINNIS, President, International Tesla Society

“Far and away the best job among Tesla biographies.”--Jeffrey D. Kooistra, INFINITE ENERGY

“Wizard is...utterly absorbing with chapters charting all stages of Tesla's life...Seifer treats his prodigious subject with sympathy and realism.”--NEXUS

“Wizard...presents a much more accurate...picture of Tesla.... [It] is thorough, informative, entertaining and a valuable addition to electrotechnological history, past and future.”--ELECTRONIC ENGINEERING TIMES

“In modern times, Tesla may be enjoying a comeback thanks to books like Wizard.”--THE NEW YORK TIMES
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