PROVING his theory that a man's efficiency and accomplishments should increase and not diminish with mellow age, Nikola Tesla, inventor, physicist and one of the world's leading electrical technicians, enters his 78th year busily engaged on three or four great scientific projects.
Several of these inventions or discoveries will be looked upon as "miracles" by many people, for Mr. Tesla has long been a scientist years ahead of his time, one whose advanced theories have alternately stamped him a "madman" and a wizard.
Just as people ridiculed Copernicus' theory of the planetary system, the unenlightened jeered Tesla's pronouncement, years ago, regarding cosmic rays. The pathfinder and the pioneer--and Mr. Tesla is both--are always condemned by the masses.
How does he tap both these deep wells? What is the secret of fine health, keen mind, unusual vitality and mental force at 77, the time of life when most men are sitting in the sun with shawls over their knees or, alas! lying beneath the sod?
Mr. Tesla is the father of the alternating system of power transmission and radio, the induction motor and Tesla coil.
Asked about his startling new scientific discoveries, one of which concerns the "photographing of thought," which will, he maintains, bring about a tremendous social revolution, he said:
"My first and most important discovery concerns the harnessing of a new source of power, hitherto unavailable, to be developed through fundamentally novel machines of my invention.
"My power generator will be of the simplest kind--just a big mass of steel, copper and aluminum, comprising a stationary and rotating part, peculiarly assembled. I am planning to develop electricity and transmit it to a distance by my alternating system now universally established. The direct-current system could also be employed if the heretofore insuperable difficulties of insulating the transmission lines can be overcome.
"The public is naturally led to expect a great revolution through the harnessing of atomic power, but that is an illusion. Atomic energy is not available for work. I operated many years ago apparatus of a capacity of 2000 horsepower and tension of 18,000,000 volts with which trillions of atoms were smashed in a fraction of a second. I generated all sorts of intense and destructive rays, but found no trace of any energy which should have been liberated through the shattering of atomic structures, according to theory. For the last thirty years I have warned my fellow scientists that there is nothing to be expected in this field except some specific effects due to changes in the atomic structure which may have more or less value."
Mr. Tesla then talked of several other projects on which he has been working by way of relief from too much concentration on the main piece of work. He described one of his other interests, one highly dramatic, which stirs the imagination and which, doubtless, will sound too revolutionary to most people. But it must not be forgotten, as Mr. Tesla points out, that the ideas of television and radio and airplane were scoffed at in their infancy.
"I expect to photograph thoughts," announced Mr. Tesla calmly, in the same tone of voice that a person occu-
Continued Mr. Tesla: "In 1893, while engaged in certain investigations, I became convinced that a definite image formed in thought must, by reflex action, produce a corresponding image on the retina, which might possibly be read by suitable apparatus. This brought me to my system of television, which I announced at that time.
"My idea was to employ an artificial retina receiving the image of the object seen, an 'optic nerve' and another such retina at the place of reproduction. These two retinas were to be constructed somewhat after the fashion of a checkerboard, with many separate little sections, and the so-called optic nerve was nothing more than a part of the earth.
"An invention of mine enables me to transmit simultaneously, and without any interference whatsoever, hundreds of thousands of distinct impulses through the ground just as though I had so many separate wires. I did not contemplate using any moving part--a scanning apparatus or a cathodic ray, which is a sort of moving device, the use of which I suggested in one of my lectures of that period.
"If this can be done successfully, then the objects imagined by a person would be clearly reflected on the screen as they are formed, and in this way every thought of the individual could be read. Our minds would then, indeed, be like open books."
BESIDES his discoveries concerning the harnessing of the new energy, television and thought photography, Mr. Tesla is working to produce a type of radio transmitter which will insure the strictest privacy in wireless communication regardless of the number of subscribers, and he is developing some important discoveries in molecular physics which will revolutionize the science of metallurgy and greatly improve metals.
After a discussion of his new scientific finding, Mr. Tesla turned to the subject of his personal source of energy and what he considers the real values of life.
"One of the most fundamental and
"I have never dissipated. When I was a young man I understood well the significance of that old French proverb, although I doubt that I had even heard it then. But I seemed to have a clear understanding while still young that I must control my passions and appetites if I wanted to make some of my dreams come true.
"So with this in view, quite early in life I set about disciplining myself, planning out a program of living for
"Since I love my work above all things, it is only natural that I should wish to continue it until I die. I want no vacation--no surcease from my labors. If people would select a life work compatible with their temperaments, the sum total of happiness would be immeasurably increased in the world.
"Many are saddened and depressed by the brevity of life. 'What is the use of attempting to accomplish anything?' they say. 'Life is so short. We may never live to see the completion of the task.' Well, people could prolong their lives considerably if they would but make the effort. Human beings do so many things that pave the way to an early grave.
"First of all, we eat too much, but this we have all heard said often before. And we eat the wrong kinds of
"My regime for the good life and my diet? Well, for one thing, I drink plenty of milk and water.
"Why overburden the bodies that serve us? I eat but two meals a day, and I avoid all acid-producing foods. Almost everybody eats too many peas and beans and other foods containing uric acid and other poisons. I partake liberally of fresh vegetables, fish or meat sparingly, and rarely. Fish is reputed as fine brain food, but has a very strong acid reaction, as it contains a great deal of phosphorus. Acidity is by far the worst enemy to fight off in old age.
"Potatoes are splendid, and should be eaten at least once a day. They contain valuable mineral salts and are neutralizing.
"I believe in plenty of exercise. I walk eight or ten miles every day, and never take a cab or other conveyance when I have the time to use legpower. I also exercise in my bath daily, for I think this is of great importance. I take a warm bath, followed by a prolonged cold shower.
"MY SLEEPLESSNESS does not worry me. Sometimes I doze for an hour or so. Occasionally, however, once in a few months, I may sleep for four or five hours. Then I awaken virtually charged with energy, like a battery. Nothing can stop me after such a night. I feel great strength then. There is no doubt about it but that sleep is a restorer, a vitalizer, that it increases energy. But on the other hand, I do not think it is essential to one's well-being, particularly if one is habitually a poor sleeper.