- Bernard S. Finn
Tesla, Nikola (9/10 July 1856–07 January 1943), electrical inventor, was born in Smiljan, Croatia (then under the Austro-Hungarian Empire), the son of Milutin Tesla, a minister in the Serbian Orthodox Church, and Djouka Mandich, both of whom were Serbs. They idolized his brilliant older brother, who died at the age of twelve. Nikola, who was five at the time, felt the full burden of their expectations fall on him. Tesla’s formal education extended through part of a second year at the polytechnic school in Graz, which he entered in 1875 and where he studied physics, mathematics, and mechanics and was exposed to recent developments in electrical technology. He then spent time in Prague, where he may have studied informally at the university. In any case, he was a voracious reader, not only in technical subjects, but also in literature, notably poetry, in the several languages at his command....