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  • While at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, I am fascinated by a giant 20 foot wide Tesla Coil which hangs on the ceiling of the “Science Storms” exhibit. Nikola Tesla invented the Tesla Coil and when it is activated it puts out a 1.2-million-volt show of electrical discharge, with lightning arcs jumping up to 10 feet from the center coil to the grounding rings. As the coil builds up and releases this massive amount of energy, a deafening sound shocks the crowd.

    When the coil goes dark, I sit afterwards in the quiet thinking about what type of person is driven to invent such astounding electrical tools. What sacrifices did he make? Did others call him crazy and laugh at him? Did he fail over and over? I fail constantly, it seems to be the only way I learn. When I was a teen a failure was devastating, but now as an adult a failure is an education. How did he see failure?

    Turns out Nikola Tesla was the father of modern electrical engineering; a mechanical and electrical genius who changed the world with his innovations and ideas. Although brilliant, he was shy and introverted. When asked if dedicated scientists should marry, Tesla said, “"Artist, yes; musician, yes; inventor, no. The former two can get inspiration from the woman's influence and reach their finest work through love, but inventor's nature is so forceful, so wild and passionate, that by giving himself to a woman, he would give everything and nothing would be left for his chosen field. I doubt that you can name many inventors who were married," responded Tesla to the journalist. Then, after a brief pause, not without sadness, he added "and that is a shame, as we are sometimes so lonely".

    It saddens me to think that he was lonely in life, but his inventions and discoveries helped humanity in so many ways. It makes me think that no matter what tool you touch in life it has been invented by a human, from paper and pencil to frying pan to computer to architectural masterpiece. Behind every invention is a person, sometimes hundreds of people, who have feelings and emotions and passions.

    Perhaps the best way to change the world for the better is to share time with these amazing minds. To encourage sustainability and positive thinking and laughter within the framework of friendship. Perhaps change for good most often comes from within the process, not afterwards once an idea is complete.
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