Electric motor, bicycle dynamo, radio, solar cell, fluorescent lamp – these are just a few examples of the devices discovered by Nikola Tesla. This scientific genius patented more than 120 inventions!
During the Tesla Days at the Copernicus Science Centre, we will get to know some of them. In the High Voltage Theatre, we will see the première of the Duel of the Masters – the multimedia show about the rivalry between Tesla and Edison. We will get to know the differences between direct current and alternating current. We will examine the mode of action of the Jacob’s ladder, Van de Graaff generator and a Tesla coil, which can be turned into a musical instrument. Together with RWE, the partner supporting the Copernicus Science Centre, we will perform a number of electrifying experiments using RWE Power Boxes and look inside… a Tesla brand electric car. A special programme for the weekend is prepared by all the laboratories of the CSC and by the Thinkatorium, where you will be able to build your own simple electric appliances.
11 and 12 July; admission included in the price of a ticket to the exhibitions
A DISPUTE ABOUT THE RADIO
Creating high voltage coils, Nikola Tesla noticed that they emit very strong electromagnetic waves. He came up with the idea of creating a device for transmitting sound using these sound waves. The patent was ready in 1900, but Guglielmo Marconi was several days faster. Tesla fought with Marconi for the patent for the radio, trying to prove that Marconi used a coil previously patented by him without his permission. The long legal proceedings made Tesla bankrupt. He was additionally dejected by the fact that Marconi was granted the Nobel Prize in spite of him using Tesla’s works. Tesla eventually won the lawsuit – unfortunately, posthumously. In the Physics Laboratory, we will create a laser radio, make electrifying signs and see real levitation.
ELECTRICITY IS IN US
Nikola Tesla was an inventor completely absorbed by the study of electric current. What does it have to do with biology? Electric current is present in each living organism. It makes us move, speak, act… Tesla worked with very high voltages. In biology, everything involves micro-voltage currents. However, it is possible for us to detect, record and even use them for various purposes. We will check the presence of electrical current in ourselves using the EEG EMOTIV EPOC+ helmet. It is a brain-computer interface that can be used to determine the activity of particular parts of the brain. After proper training, we can move objects in virtual reality, and even play a computer game without a mouse and keyboard – using your thoughts! We will also perform an electrocardiogram of a Venus flytrap and remotely control a cockroach.
Do you think that chemistry has nothing to do with Nikola Tesla? Electrochemical experiments will prove you absolutely wrong. Together we will see that a chemical reaction can create an electrical current and the other way round: we will initiate a chemical reaction using an electrical current.
The first robots were created by none other than Nikola Tesla. These were remotely controlled automatons that could walk, fly or swim. We will build our own machines with blocks. We will also set out on a journey into the virtual world using VR glasses and will look at the world through the eyes of cartoon characters. We will learn how to design games using the Scratch software. At the end, a nostalgic proposal: a game of Tetris with metal pots.
One of the last ideas of Nikola Tesla was construction of a remotely radio-controlled machine that could automatically perform various activities. The scientist built the first radio remote control in the world and then created a whole host of devices that could be controlled using it. Currently, the invention is commonly used also in model building: the systems of remote control make it possible to navigate the models. It is a spectacular art, but not an easy one. You will be able to navigate models of vehicles on our track, as well as get to know their structure and functioning.
Conference room, 1st floor
When Nikola Tesla worked on the transmission of radio waves, he probably did not suspect how far electronic science would go. He built the Wardenclyffe Tower (Long Island, New York) to be able to remotely transmit signals, sound and pictures. What does it look like today? We are starting to use technologies that enable spatial representation of objects. The possibilities of 3D scanners are practically unlimited. They are used in the process of digitalisation of monuments, medical diagnosis and recreation of valuable objects and precise mechanisms. Together we will see how 3D images are created and how they can be used. We will scan ourselves and see the result using a computer.
At the entrance to the Robotic Theatre.
THINK LIKE AN INVENTOR
When creating his inventions, Nikola Tesla had to deal with lack of ready-made solutions both in terms of materials and structures. He was able to invent something out of nothing. The Thinkatorium operates based on similar principles. It is a place where everyone, regardless of their age, knowledge and abilities, can see that they “think better than they think they do”. Here we will solve various construction, logical and hydraulic riddles. We will create simple electrical systems using ready-made elements. The source of power will be batteries.
There are so many things to learn and discover that you need to start at an early age. This was how Nikola Tesla started his adventure with science. Already in childhood, he was interested in phenomena related to electric current. Then he became a visionary and a brilliant engineer of outstanding intuition. Let the youngest experiment! Here, under the watchful eye of the explainers, they will create robots powered by light and produce energy using a bicycle.
Conference room, 1st floor
DUEL OF THE MASTERS
It will be a meeting of two great minds and two great ideas that have changed the world. The competitors have already taken their place in the ring. They are ready to fight! Who will win? The favourite of Thomas Edison – the direct current? Or the alternating current supported by Nikola Tesla? We will get to know that during the premiere show in the High Voltage Theatre. We will learn the differences between direct current and alternating current. We will also see a Tesla coil, Van de Graaff generator and Jacob’s ladder in action. All of this in the context of the famous “War of Currents”, which took place in the 19th century in the United States.
High Voltage Theatre
When introducing electric current into our daily lives, Nikola Tesla and other inventors did not realise that they create the foundations of a huge industry. Electricity is now ubiquitous and essential to everyday life. As a result, we have many producers and suppliers of electricity, and each one dictates its terms to customers. What do the suppliers themselves think about it? We will get to know this from the representatives of one of the largest distributors and sellers of electricity, namely RWE.
A stand on the ground floor
RWE POWER BOX
Nikola Tesla had been related to electricity from the beginning of his life. (The rumour has it that he was born during a storm.) He continuously studied phenomena related to electricity and invented new applications of the electrical current. With the RWE Power Box, we will get to know the basic phenomena of the fascinating world of electrons and electric charges.
Ground floor, 1st floor and the Discovery Park – in the case of bad weather, only in the CSC building.
ELECTRICITY POWERED CARS – Tesla and BMW
One of Tesla’s inventions is electric engine powered with alternating current. Its characteristic feature is lack of brushes. The engines of this type are currently used in vehicles powered by electricity. They are durable and reliable. Thanks to RWE, you will be able to see such a vehicle with your own eyes.
At the main entrance to the CSC
BMW- Saturday 9 a.m.-6 p.m., Tesla - Sunday 12 a.m.-6 p.m.
THE ENERGY OF THE SPACE
Nikola Tesla had been travelling in time and in space since early childhood. As a result of an extraordinary condition, he was able to dream while awake. He made his most important discovery in 1882. The entire cosmos, in its uncountable variations, forms and manifestations, appeared to him as a symphony of alternating currents (their most important note was the one of current with a frequency of 60 Hz). Using his uncanny instinct, Tesla foresaw the existence of cosmic radiation. He claimed that, if only the man could use all the energy coming from the Sun, “at his command, the old worlds would vanish almost without any effort on his part, and the new would be to exist,” human beings could change the size of planets and direct them to any path through the abyss of the Universe. We would make planets collide and create stars. We would be able to give birth to and develop life in endless forms. When looking at the stars in our planetary, remember that visionaries such as Nikola Tesla contributed to the exploration of the space.
Planetarium The Heavens of Copernicus
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11 and 12 July 2015