Bono* was there. I was there. Were you there? “There” is the New Yorker Hotel on January 11, 2014. And the occasion was the 2nd Annual Nikola Tesla Memorial Conference, sponsored by the Tesla Science Foundation. It was a day to remember.
Tesla lived in the New Yorker for the last decade of his long life, dying there in room 3327 on January 7, 1943. You can even stay in his room if you wish (last year I had 3326, the room next door, from which I could see a constant stream of people checking out the plaque on Tesla’s door).
The theme this year was to assess and begin development of a curriculum to get Tesla better represented in schools. While students in his home country of Serbia hear about Tesla at an early age, he barely gets mentioned in American schools, if at all. Edison, Marconi, and others who get credit for inventions originally developed by Tesla get prominent mention, but Tesla…well, not so much. The conference aimed to correct that slight and featured many speakers relating their experiences with Tesla-inspired education, interpretations of what would appropriate material to teach, and how to promote the idea.
I’ve been fortunate enough to contribute to that goal myself, both through publication of Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity and by being part of a team organized by author Howard Lipman (pen name Pan Orpheus) in a sort of traveling Tesla show. We’ve presented film, art, insights, and my book outreach to various public libraries over this past year and hope to do more in 2014. I’ll do a solo presentation to the public at the Ipswich Museum on July 7th. It will be one of a series of talks I’ll be giving when the second edition of Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity comes out in July 2014. More on that later.
During a very long day (the conference was sandwiched between two 4 hour drives to New York City and back), I enjoyed both the talks and signing books for attendees. One of the best rewards for writing Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity has been the chance to meet readers who get excited about the book and about Nikola Tesla. Ed’s enthusiasm as he buys a book for his daughter Bianca (and another for his local library), the anticipation that Christopher will be reading Tesla on the campus of the University of Michigan thanks to his Aunt’s gift, and Jeff’s passion for Tesla as he purchases four books for friends and family. And while the praise from Tesla experts like Jane Alcorn, Nikola Lonchar, Ljubo Vujovic and others is extremely gratifying, it’s the heartwarming exuberance of the general public that makes this all worthwhile.
While there I was interviewed on camera by three different organizations, including Tesla Magazine (photo above). The video below is of one of the video-taping sessions. Not surprisingly (since it’s a video of a video interview), it’s hard to hear with all the background noise. The actual interviews will be posted on the organizations’ websites, so I’ll be sure to link to them when they are up. What is interesting about this video is that while I’m being interviewed there is some guy who goes by the name of Bono* wandering around in the background. In any case, Bono* was here supporting the Tesla conference and one of the guys who interviewed me.
Despite the fact that he was a wonderfully down-to-earth guy, apparently I was still too star-struck to get my photo taken with him (duh!). But here’s a photo of Bono* with Danijela Milic and jazz pianist Dimitrije Vasiljevic. The latter presented his new composition for solo piano inspired by, and to honor, Nikola Tesla.
So even though I neglected to get my own photo with Bono*, I did enjoy very much chatting with other luminaries, including authors Bernard Carlson and Howard Lipman, Jane Alcorn of the Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe, Joe Sikorski and Vic Elefante from the movie Fragments from Olympus, Nenad Stankovic of Tesla Magazine, and many others who are bringing Tesla to the people. A day very well spent.
Hard copies of Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity are still available in Barnes and Noble stores, but the print run is almost sold out so get one fast. You can also get used copies from resellers on Amazon and BN. E-books are also available on barnesandnoble.com. A second printing will be released in July 2014 in time for Tesla’s birthday. Of course, you can also order a personally signed and inscribed copy directly from me.
*Or a reasonable facsimile thereof.