Until February 2022, the science museum of the "la Caixa" Foundation is hosting an exhibition on Nikola Tesla. The exhibition takes a chronological journey through his life and the technological advances that marked his career, from his beginnings in Europe to his fruitful period in America, where he ended his days alone and practically in ruins.
On 28 October, the Deputy Director General of the "la Caixa" Foundation, Elisa Durán; the manager of the Nikola Tesla Museum, Radmila Adzic, and the director of CosmoCaixa, Valentí Farràs, presented the exhibition Nikola Tesla, the genius of modern electricity, an exhibition that traces the life and work of the Serbian engineer, a key figure in the history of science thanks to the development of inventions that marked the 20th century.
The exhibition, in collaboration with the Nikola Tesla Museum in Belgrade, highlights Tesla's importance in the history of science. We owe Tesla, whose nearly 300 patents are documented, essential contributions to modern life, such as the invention of the induction motor, the development of alternating current as a source of energy and the wireless transmission of energy and information, among others.
In keeping with the essence of CosmoCaixa, the exhibition includes electromechanical modules so that visitors can observe Tesla's main inventions in operation, and also presents spectacular experiments that allow the physics on which they are based to be explained in an intelligible way. These include two large Tesla coils, which will be used for high voltage displays during guided tours of the exhibition.
The exhibition takes a look at the lights and shadows of Tesla's life and also debunks some of the myths that were created during his lifetime and afterwards, such as, for example, that he had managed to generate artificial earthquakes, that the US Supreme Court ruled that the patent for the radio was rightfully Tesla's property, or that he won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1915 together with Thomas Alva Edison.
Today, the actual number of patents filed by Nikola Tesla is unknown. There are 280 documented in 26 different countries, but it is suspected that there are others that have not yet been identified - some attribute more than 700 to him. In any case, Tesla's importance lies in the ingenious solutions, the universal applications, and the numerous scientific and technological breakthroughs he set in motion around the world.
At CosmoCaixa, visitors will be able to see operational electromechanical modules that allow visitors to reproduce the functioning of the devices and ingenuities devised by Tesla. Most of these modules are reproductions of the original devices on loan from the Nikola Tesla Museum in Belgrade. There are also modules of Tesla's own production, developed to show in a didactic and clear way some of the physical principles behind Tesla's creations, such as electromagnetism.
clear way some of the physical principles behind Tesla's creations, such as electromagnetism. The exhibition is completed by models of his prototypes and his most outstanding installations, replicas of Tesla's personal belongings and audiovisuals about his ingenuities, as well as related period scientific instruments belonging to the collection of the Faculty of Physics of the University of Barcelona.
The exhibition, which follows Tesla's life and work in chronological order, is divided into six areas, all headed by comic drawings by the illustrator Juan de Dios Tenorio.
This is the third biographical exhibition dedicated exclusively to a scientist organised by CosmoCaixa. After delving into the careers of Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein, the science museum of the "la Caixa" Foundation in Barcelona now recognises the work of the brilliant Serbian inventor, to whom we owe contributions such as the invention of the induction motor, the development of alternating current as a source of energy and the wireless transmission of energy and information. He was a true pioneer in branches of science and technologies that were already expanding, but also in others that would still take years to be taken into consideration, such as robotics or interplanetary communications.
In addition to the exhibition, throughout the month of November, CosmoCaixa is hosting a series of talks that will bring us closer to the figure of Nikola Tesla, his inventions, and his scientific and technological contribution to our society. The four talks in the series, moderated by the architect and director of Atlas of the Future, Silvia Brandi, will reveal the relevance of his ideas and the way in which his proposals can help to combat current problems such as the climate emergency. We will also delve into his more human profile from different points of view and, through him, we will travel from the past to the future to better understand our present and the technological alternatives available to us.