GENIUS, MADNESS & THE TESLA COIL: OBSCURA SOCIETY LA - Atlas Obscura

Los Angeles, California

GENIUS, MADNESS & THE TESLA COIL: OBSCURA SOCIETY LA

Tesla nerds unite! Join us for a look at the life and amazing inventions of Nikola Tesla, with local Tesla expert Matt Ventimiglia of Griffith Observatory, followed by a demonstration of their vintage Tesla Coil.

Nikola Tesla's extraordinary genius for electrical engineering and invention led to a deeply tumultuous personal life, epic battles with Thomas Edison, and a slow descent into antisocial madness. Along the way, he invented alternating current, the radio and radar, experimented with other less noble things things like "Death Rays", palled around with the likes of Mark Twain, and demonstrated the wireless transfer of power that engineers are still trying to perfect to this day.

Inspired by Tesla's reports of the effects on himself and other researchers working with the extremely high voltage of his resonant transformer circuit - now known universally as the Tesla Coil - Dr. Fredrick Finch Strong decided to get a coil of his own. The eccentric physician, theosophist and enthusiastic electrotherapeutics experimenter eventually donated his Tesla Coil to the city of Los Angeles, where it has been on display at Griffith Observatory since 1937.

In honor of Tesla Day earlier in the month, Ventimiglia will lead a discussion about Tesla and then will demonstrate the Griffith Observatory's Tesla Coil with an extended Q & A.