April Flowers for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online
The last remaining laboratory of scientist, visionary and inventor Nikola Tesla has been sold this week by the Agfa Corporation to Friends of Science East, Inc. dba Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe. Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe is a 501 (c) 3 not-for-profit corporation dedicated to saving and restoring Wardenclyffe, with the aim of turning it into a science learning center and museum.
Wardenclyffe is a 15.69 acre site in Shoreham, New York, where Tesla planned to build his wireless communications and energy transmission tower in the early 1900s. The tower was completed, but only one test was made in July 1903. Shortly after, Tesla suffered some financial reversals, and in 1917, the tower was taken down and sold for scrap metal.
Tesla was one of the most influential scientists of the late 19th and early 20th century. His contributions to commercial electricity, radio, magnetism and the invention of the AC (alternating current) motor helped to usher in the Second Industrial Revolution. He also made contributions to the fields of robotics, remote control, radar, computer science, ballistics, nuclear physics and theoretical physics. Nikola Tesla was one of the most famous scientists of his time in the United States, “but because of his eccentric personality and somewhat unbelievable and bizarre claims about scientific and technological developments, Tesla became disliked and was regarded as a mad scientist.”
Tesla is perhaps best known today for the controversy over the invention of the radio. A debate still rages between Tesla supporters and those who favor Guglielmo Marconi over who truly invented the first radio. According to the US Supreme Court in 1947, it was Tesla.
Newsday reports Friends of Science East, Inc. partnered with online comic Matthew Inman of TheOatmeal.com in August 2012 to host an online crowdfunding project on Indiegogo.com. They raised $1.37 million towards the purchase price of the Wardenclyffe site. The campaign reached the $1 million mark in just over a week, with the help of 33,000 contributors from 108 countries.
“This is a major milestone in our almost two-decade effort to save this historically and scientifically significant site. We have been pursuing this dream with confidence that we would eventually succeed,” said Gene Genova, Vice President of the organization, in a recent statement. “We are very excited to be able to finally set foot on the grounds where Tesla walked and worked.”
Friends of Science East, Inc. isn´t done yet, though.
“Now begin the next important steps in raising the money needed to restore the historic laboratory,” said Mary Daum, treasurer. “We estimate that we will need to raise about $10 million to create a science learning center and museum worthy of Tesla and his legacy. We invite everyone who believes in science education and in recognizing Tesla for his many contributions to society to join in helping to make this dream a reality.”
The organization is planning many fundraising events in the future to raise the capital to restore and run the site as a museum. You can find more information on these events on their website, at the Facebook page, and via Twitter.