Nikola Tesla was one of the greatest scientists of modern history, on the same level as Guglielmo Marconi or Thomas Edison. Here is his story.
In the late 19th century, Tesla emigrated to America from his native Serbia. He carried more than a letter of introduction to Thomas Edison, who was The Man at that time. After working for Edison for several months, Tesla went off on his own. New York City had started to get electricity through Edison's direct current (dc) system. Tesla developed alternating current (ac), a much more efficient way of distributing energy, which has become the standard.
Tesla had an incredible memory, and a head full of ideas. It led to him receiving over 300 patents. Among other things, alternators in cars, robotics, remote control and radio are based on his work. He envisioned a hand-held device that could connect people all over the world with pictures, voice and information (sound vaguely familiar?). He became world famous.
Tesla was a great scientist, but he was not much of a businessman. Getting funding for his various projects was a constant struggle. In later years, his work went from Cutting Edge to Just Plain Weird. In 1943, he died in New York City, broke and alone.
This is an excellent, and easy to understand, book. Tesla was world famous, and seems to have been forgotten by history. If you are reading this on a cell phone, thank Nikola Tesla.