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被遗忘的天才—尼古拉特斯拉

The Tragic Story of Nikola Tesla

When you think about the greatest inventors of all time,
当你回顾史上最伟大的发明家们时
there are a few names that come to mind.
有一些名字会浮现出来
Henry Ford.
亨利·福特
The Wright brothers.
莱特兄弟
Thomas Edison.
托马斯·爱迪生
But there’s one name that is not as recognizable.
但有个名字却没有那么起眼
When you plug your phone in, turn on the lights, or use the refrigerator,
但当你给手机充电 开灯 或使用冰箱时
you have Nikola Tesla to thank.
你都要感谢尼古拉·特斯拉
This is the story of the forgotten genius
这是一位被遗忘的天才的故事
and the story begins at the end.
故事先从他的结局说起
On January 7, 1943
在1943年1月7日
a maid working at the New Yorker Hotel walked into room 3327
纽约客酒店的一名女仆走进了3327房间
where she found the body of an 86–year-old man
她发现了一具86岁老人的遗体
who called the hotel home for the past decade.
在过去十年里 这个老人以酒店为家
Tesla died alone and broke.
特斯拉身无分文 独自死去
He lived off a diet of warm milk and crackers and was obsessed with
他平日以温牛奶和饼干为食 而且喜欢
feeding the pigeons outside.
给外面的鸽子喂食
One of the greatest inventors of all time faded into obscurity
这位人类史上最伟大的发明家之一黯然褪去
and died penniless.
去世时也是身无分文
There is a reason why this happened which will become clear by the end of the story.
故事的最后 原因将会揭晓
Tesla was born in the town of Smiljan in present-day Croatia on July 10, 1856.
1856年7月10日 特斯拉出生在现克罗地亚的斯米湾镇
He was born during a lightning storm.
他在雷雨交加中诞生
According to family legend, the midwife said halfway through the birth:
根据家族传说 助产士在接生中途曾言:
this child will be a child of darkness
这孩子将是属于黑暗的孩子
to which his mother replied, no, he will be a child of light.
但他母亲反驳道 他将是属于光明的孩子
Little did she know how prophetic those words would be.
她根本不知道这些话是多么的有预见性
When Tesla was five he witnessed his older brother fall from a horse and later die.
特斯拉五岁时目睹了哥哥从马上摔下离世
This would haunt him for the rest of his life.
此后余生 该事一直萦绕在他的心头
As a child, he began seeing visions accompanied by flashes of light,
孩提时期 他看到伴随灯光闪烁的美景
confusing what was real and what was imaginary.
对其真假感到困惑
This never went away.
这个想法从未消失
The vision spurred his ability to conceive inventions in his head
这幻想激发了他在脑海中构思发明的能力
in such detail that he didn’t even need to draw them out.
甚至不需画出来就能设想出细节
he explained how the designs were perfected
在1919年的一篇文章中
in his mind in an article in 1919.
他解释了如何在脑中完善那些设计
“Invariably, my device works as I conceived that it should
“ 我的装置向来如我设想的那般工作
and the experiment comes out exactly as I planned it.
实验得出的结果也与我设想的一致
In 20 years there has not been a single exception”
20年来从无例外”
Tesla credits his mom for his interest in invention.
特斯拉感谢他的母亲对他发明兴趣的栽培
Đuka Mandić invented small household appliances in her spare time.
母亲杜卡·曼迪奇在空闲时间做一些家庭器具
She had an eidetic memory –
她拥有异常清晰的记忆力
the ability to recall an image from memory with high precision
能精确的回想起记忆中的画面
and she passed this on to her son.
这个能力也遗传给了儿子
Tesla’s father was a priest and wanted him to become one too
身为牧师的父亲 也想要儿子长大当牧师
but Tesla was interested in engineering.
但是特斯拉对工程感兴趣
When he contracted cholera as a teen and nearly died
特斯拉青年时感染了霍乱 差点死去
his father promised to send him to engineering school if he survived
父亲承诺要是他能活下来就送他去工程学校
and miraculously, he did.
他真的奇迹般的活下来了
He went to study in Austria at the Technical College of Graz
他去奥地利的格拉茨理工大学学习
where he is said to have worked from 3 am until 11 pm every day.
每天从凌晨3点学习到晚上11点
Professors were worried that he would die from exhaustion.
教授们都担心他会过劳死
Tesla had a beautiful mind.
特斯拉有着出色的智慧
He could perform calculus in his head and spoke eight languages.
他能在头脑里演算微积分 会说八门语言
He was a good student at the start but would not finish school.
他起初是个好学生 但未能完成学业
He dropped out after becoming addicted to gambling
他因为沉迷赌博 而后辍学了
and cut ties with his family so they wouldn’t find out.
他和家人断开联系 因此家人找不到他
His friends didn’t know what happened to him either.
他的朋友也不知道在他遭遇了什么
They thought he drowned in a river.
他们以为他掉到河里淹死了
Tesla moved around Europe and eventually ended up in Budapest
特斯拉在欧洲兜兜转转 最后留在布达佩斯
working as an electrician at a telephone company.
当一家电话公司的电工
While walking around a park in the city one day,
某天 当他正在城市公园四处闲逛时
he had an epiphany about developing a new way of generating electricity
他顿悟出了发电的新方法
using alternating current.
即交流电发电
It would be his greatest invention that would change the world.
他这一杰出的发明 将会改变世界
I’ll explain more about AC a little later.
待会我们再讲交流电
In 1882, he settled in Paris
1882年 他定居巴黎
to work for the French branch of Thomas Edison’s electric company.
为爱迪生电气公司法国分公司工作
He started off installing indoor lighting but the managers noticed his talents
他负责安装室内灯具 但主管发现了他的才能
and had him doing more complicated work,
并让他做更多复杂的工作
designing and building dynamos and motors.
如设计和建造发电机和发动机
He was soon traveling throughout Europe fixing problems at other Edison branches.
不久他就奔波于欧洲 帮爱迪生其他分公司解决问题
Two years later, in 1884, Tesla’s manager offered him
两年后 在1884年 特拉斯的主管雇他
a job at Edison Machine Works in New York City.
到纽约的爱迪生机械公司工作
He agreed and arrived in America with only four cents in his pocket
他同意了 来到美国时口袋里只有4美分
because his money was stolen on the boat ride over.
因为他的钱在乘船途中被偷了
Tesla initially had a good impression on Edison
特斯拉起初对爱迪生印象很好
Edison was also impressed by Tesla,
爱迪生对他也印象深刻
later saying: “I have had many hard-working assistants but you take the cake.”
他说:“我有很多刻苦的助手 但我更青睐你”
This mutual admiration didn’t last. They would become bitter rivals.
这种互相欣赏并没有持续下去 他们最终变为对手
The two men disagreed over how electricity should be contained and delivered.
两人在电的存储与输送的观点上闹分歧
Edison preferred direct current which is a system
爱迪生倾向于直流电
where the electric charge only flows in one direction.
该系统中电流沿一个方向流动
Tesla was a fan of alternating current in which
特斯拉热衷于交流电
the electric charge changes direction periodically.
电流会周期性改变方向
Changing directions is crucial to maintaining a steady supply of electricity
改变方向对维持电流的稳定供应至关重要
because it does not overpower outlets.
因为这样功率输出不会过载
This means it can provide more power and transmit power over longer distances.
这意味着它能将电力 传送得更多更远
It’s the reason AC powers our homes and other large appliances
这便是为何交流电能传电千万家 供能大设备
whereas DC powers smaller items like flashlights.
而直流电 只能给更小的物件如手电筒供电
But Edison didn’t care about AC
但爱迪生不关心交流电
because it could have hurt the sales of direct current
因为这会损害直流电产品的销量
since he owned all the patents for DC.
因为他拥有直流电的专利
According to Tesla,
据特斯拉所说
a manager at Edison’s company offered him a $50,000 bonus
若他能改进一些直流电机器
if he could improve some machines that ran on DC.
爱迪生公司的主管会付给他5万美元奖金
When he did, the manager refused to pay up.
但当他做到时 那位经理却拒绝支付
Another account of the story has Edison telling Tesla:
另一个版本是爱迪生告诉特斯拉:
“You don’t understand our American humor.”
“你不懂我们美国人的幽默”
Regardless of how it played out, Tesla quit
不论真实版本是哪个 特斯拉离职了
and set off to form his own electric company the following year in 1885
并在1885年开始建立他自己的电力公司
But his investors showed little interest
但他的投资者们对此并不感兴趣
and decided to take the company and all of Tesla’s patents which they could do.
他们想要夺走公司及特斯拉所有的专利
because Tesla had assigned patents to the company.
因为特斯拉先前给公司分享了专利权
in exchange for stock which was now worthless.
来换取股份 而这些股份现已毫无价值
After losing his company,Tesla had to take a job
失去了公司的支持 特斯拉不得不
digging ditches for two dollars a day just to survive.
为谋生接受每天2美元的挖沟工作
But his fortunes would change.
但他的时运将变
In 1887, Tesla invented an induction motor that ran on alternating current.
1887年 特斯拉发明了交流电驱动的感应发动机
The motor was the most efficient way to convert electricity to mechanical power.
该发动机能最有效地将电能转变为机械能
A version of it powers Tesla’s vehicles which took its name from the inventor.
其中一版发动机驱动的车以特斯拉的名字命名
He patented the motor and showed it off the following year
他给发动机申请了专利 并于次年
at the American Institute of Electrical Engineers
在美国电气工程师学会展示其成果
that caught the attention of George Westinghouse,
这引起了乔治·威斯汀豪斯的注意
a major player in the electric market
他是电力市场上的大户
who realized Tesla’s AC motor might just be what he needed
他意识到特斯拉交流发动机或许正是他想要的
to complete his alternating current system
可以完善他的交流电系统
and compete against Edison’s DC system.
并和爱迪生的直流电系统抗衡竞争
So Tesla licensed the patents for the AC motor to Westinghouse
特斯拉以6万美元转让了交流电机的使用权
for 60,000 dollars and also receive stock and royalties.
同时收到股份和专利使用费
Westinghouse hired him as a consultant for $2,000 a month
威斯汀豪斯雇他作顾问 每月支付2000美元
which is the equivalent of over $50,000 a month today.
相当于现在一个月超过5万美元的工资
The war of the currents began.
电流之战开始了
Edison tried hard to try to discredit Westinghouse and Tesla.
爱迪生费尽心思诋毁威斯汀豪斯和特斯拉
He secretly financed the electric chair that used alternating current
他秘密资助交流电死刑电椅
to prove how dangerous AC was.
以证明交流电是多么危险
Edison’s company also publicly tortured animals to prove its point.
爱迪生公司还公然地折磨动物来证明观点
In 1903, they electrocuted a circus elephant named Topsy
1903年 他们电死了一头叫做托普西的马戏团大象
and produced a film about it called Electrocuting an Elephant.
还摄制了一部名为《电击大象》的电影
Despite Edison’s schemes,
尽管爱迪生百般阻挠
good things were happening for Westinghouse and Tesla.
威斯汀豪斯和特斯拉却好事连连
They underbid Edison and his newly formed company General Electric
1893年他们为世界哥伦比亚博览会供电照明
to illuminate the World’s Colombian Exposition in Chicago in 1893.
价格要比爱迪生新开的通用电气公司要低
The first all-electric fair
这一首次全电化的展览会
celebrated the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s discovery of America.
是为庆祝克里斯多弗·哥伦布发现美洲400周年
It was clear to the 27 million people who attended that
这让参与会展的2700万观众清晰地认识到
AC would power the future.
交流电能够供电未来
Their success continued when they beat out Edison’s General Electric again
他们又一次成功击败了爱迪生的通用电气公司
to build the world’s first alternating current power plant in Niagara Falls.
并在尼亚拉加瀑布建了首个交流电水力发电站
The hydroelectric power station was a massive success and helped light up Buffalo, New York.
这个发电站大获成功 供电照亮了纽约布法罗城
The building of the plant also meant Tesla became a pioneer in renewable energy.
这也意味着特斯拉成为可再生能源领域的先驱
His statue can be found at Niagara Falls today.
他的雕像如今仍然立在尼亚加拉瀑布
Westinghouse and Tesla won the war of the currents
威斯汀豪斯和特斯拉赢得电流之战
and direct current was being phased out.
而直流电被逐步淘汰
But there were problems.
但问题又来了
Westinghouse’s company was running out of money
威斯汀豪斯的公司花光了钱
and eventually went $10 million into debt.
最后还负债一千万美金
In 1897, he went to Tesla
1897年 他去找特斯拉
and asked if his royalties could be reduced
并问他是否能降低专利使用费
in a desperate attempt to save the company.
他想要不顾一切地拯救公司
Tesla was so compelled by compassion for his friend that he ripped up his contract.
特斯拉同情朋友境遇 撕碎了合同
He was grateful to Westinghouse for believing in him when no one else would.
他感激威斯汀豪斯能在他孤立无援时信任他
Tesla willingly walked away from $12 million in royalties
他愿意舍弃1200万美元的专利使用费
which in today’s terms would be worth over $300 million.
这在如今价值三亿多美元
Had he held on to those royalties over time,
他若是有这些专利费
he would have likely become the wealthiest person on the planet
本可以成为世界上最富有的人
and the first person with a billion dollar net worth.
也将是净值拥有十亿美元的第一人
That act of compassion for his friend
他出于对朋友的同情
of tearing up his contract saved Westinghouse.
而撕碎合同的举动拯救了威斯汀豪斯
In return, Westinghouse paid Tesla $216,000
作为报答 威斯汀豪斯支付特斯拉21.6万美元
for the rights to use as ac patents forever.
来购买其交流电的专利永久使用权
This is the equivalent of about six million dollars today.
这相当于如今的600万美元
With that money, Tesla became financially independent
有了这些钱 特斯拉实现了经济独立
and set up a series of laboratories in New York for new projects
并在纽约为研究新项目成立了一系列实验室
where he was visited by the rich and famous,
他受到富豪与名人们的拜访
including his close friend and one of the greatest American writers of all time, Mark Twain.
其中包括他的好友和美国大文豪马克·吐温
This was his period of many inventions.
这段时期 他有许多的发明
He held over 300 patents in his lifetime.
他一生持有有超过300项专利
He created an early version of neon lighting,
他创造了最早版本的霓虹灯
the tesla turbine – a bladeless turbine for vehicles.
以及特斯拉涡轮 一种应用于汽车的无叶涡轮
He pioneered x-ray technology by experimenting with radiation.
通过研究辐射 他率先探索X射线技术
This is an x-ray of his own hand.
这就是他给自己的手拍的X光
Another stand-out invention was one of the first remote controls.
他的另一个杰出成就是发明了第一个遥控器
In 1898, he controlled a miniature boat at Madison Square Garden in New York.
1898年 他在纽约麦迪逊广场花园遥控一艘小船
It was so far ahead of its time that the crowd thought
该技术过于领先时代 以至于人们
he was using magic to make it move.
认为他是用的魔法去移动船
That would be the ancestor to today’s remote-controlled drones.
这正是现在远程控制无人机的雏形
One of his most well-known inventions is the Tesla coil
他最著名的发明之一是特斯拉线圈
a device that can produce large amounts of high voltage electricity.
这是一种能产生大量高压电的装置
Because of the coils, he discovered he could send and receive powerful radio signals
他发现当其在同一频率上产生共鸣时
when they resonated at the same frequency.
能够收发强烈的广播信号
Tesla was getting ready to broadcast his first radio signal but disaster struck.
当他准备发送他的首个广播信号时 灾难发生了
A fire destroyed his lab in 1895.
1895年的一场火灾破坏了他的实验室
He lost years of research and equipment.
他失去了多年的研究和设备
Tesla didn’t apply for a patent for the radio until two years later.
特斯拉两年后才给无线电广播技术申请专利
The fire would be the turning point in his life that led to a downhill spiral.
这场火灾是他人生开始走下坡路的转折点
At the same time that he was working on radio,
在他研究无线电的同时
an Italian entrepreneur, Guglielmo Marconi,
叫做古列尔莫·马可尼的意大利企业家
was also working on the radio in England.
也正在英国研究无线电技术
He tried to acquire patent rights in the US
他尝试在美国获得专利
but was turned down because it was too similar to Tesla’s.
但遭到拒绝 因为这和特斯拉的太相似了
However, things changed
然而事情发生了转机
when Marconi was able to send the world’s first transatlantic radio message in 1901
1901年 马可尼发送了世界上第一条跨洲广播
using 17 of Tesla’s patents.
利用了17项特斯拉的专利技术
Edison then threw his financial support behind Marconi.
随后 爱迪生幕后赞助马可尼
Tesla had no problem with Marconi’s achievements
特斯拉对马可尼的成就没有意见
but in 1904, the US Patent Office suddenly changed its mind
但在1904年 美国专利局突然改变了主意
and awarded Marconi a patent for the invention of the radio.
并颁授马克尼发明收音机的专利
There has never been a reason given for this decision
这么做是非常不合理的
but the powerful financial backing Marconi received could explain it.
但马可尼背后强大的经济支持能解释这一切
Marconi went on to win the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1911
在1911年马可尼赢得了诺贝尔物理学奖
which was only possible due to Tesla’s work.
而这些都是基于特斯拉的研究
Tesla was furious and sued Marconi.
特斯拉愤怒无比并起诉了马可尼
The case dragged on in court for years
可这个案子被法庭拖延了数年
and was only settled in Tesla’s favor after his death.
在死后 特斯拉才胜诉
That radio incident negatively impacted the rest of Tesla’s career.
无线电事件影响了特斯拉之后的职业生涯
For example, Tesla was obsessed with bringing wireless communication to the world
例如 特斯拉沉迷于把无线通信带给世界
and built a huge wireless transmission station in Long Island, New York
并在纽约长岛建造了一个巨大的
called Wardenclyffe Tower.
叫沃登克里弗塔的无线传输站
He imagined a world where we could send and receive messages wirelessly
他畅想了一个人们可以无线收发信息的世界
He was, again, well ahead of his time.
他又一次领先了时代
But financial backers did not have a faith in his project.
但是投资方对他的项目并不抱有信心
They pulled out and banked on Marconi’s radio invention instead.
他们撤资转而支持马可尼的无线电发明
This left Tesla in financial ruin.
这让特斯拉破产
He had no choice but to abandon his dream project in 1905
他别无选择 在1905年放弃了梦寐以求的项目
and eventually lost Wardenclyffe Tower to foreclosure.
最后还失去了沃登克里弗塔的赎回权
Tesla’s mental health deteriorated.
特斯拉的心理状况恶化
He lived his last decade in the New Yorker Hotel beginning in 1933.
1933年开始他在纽约客酒店度过10年余生
Westinghouse Corporation hired him as a consultant and paid for his room.
西屋电气公司雇他作顾问 并为他支付住房费
He lived rent-free but died in debt.
他虽然免租居住 但去世时仍负债累累
So why did one of the greatest inventors of all time
为何这位伟大的发明家黯然离世
fade into obscurity and die penniless?
去世时身无分文?
You could say Tesla was unlucky at times
你可以说是因为特斯拉常遭不幸
like when the fire burned down his New York lab.
如火灾烧毁了他纽约的实验室
But the main reason is because Tesla was not a capitalist.
但主要原因是特斯拉不是一位资本家
He made decisions that those with more business acumen would not have made
他做的决定 那些有生意头脑的人都不会做
such as giving up his royalties for the AC motor.
比如放弃交流电发动机的专利费
He wasn’t concerned about money.
他并不在乎钱
He was concerned about the pursuit of science for the betterment of humanity.
他追求的是能够造福人类的科学
He wanted to change the world and he did.
他想改变世界 他也做到了
Thanks in part to Elon Musk’s company
这部分归功于埃隆·马斯克的公司
people are starting to learn more about the man who inspired the company,
人们开始去了解这个启发了公司的人物
a man whose inventions would power our entire planet.
他的发明能够驱动整个世界
It’s because of Tesla that modern society functions the way it does.
他的发明铸就了现代社会
Tesla’s mother called him a child of light and she was quite right.
特斯拉的母亲叫他光明的孩子是十分正确的
Thanks for watching the story of Nikola Tesla, I hope you enjoyed it.
感谢观看尼古拉·特斯拉的故事 希望你喜欢
I’m Cindy Pom. If you like what you saw, subscribe to my new channel.
我是Cindy Pom 如果你喜欢该视频 欢迎订阅我的新频道
I also started aPatreon where you can make a monthly contribution
我还成立了aPatreon 你可以每月做出点贡献
and this will go a really long way toward helping this channel grow. See you soon.
来帮助这个频道的长期发展 再见

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视频概述

成就满满的天才,生前却默默无闻,死后才渐渐为人知晓,你想了解这位被遗忘的天才的故事吗?

听录译者

收集自网络

翻译译者

Arthur

审核员

审核员RYAN

视频来源

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FeUA-0G1p5k

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