What Was Nikola Tesla’s IQ? [Early Life, Achievements & Death]

Discover Nikola Tesla's IQ, along with his many inventions, innovations, and the legacy he left behind. See how he compares to other scientists.

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It could be argued that the world we know today would be unimaginable if it weren't for Nikola Tesla’s IQ. This brilliant scientist never left us feeling grateful enough for his dedication to science, and his spirit continues to fascinate and inspire people all over the world.

Although IQ tests had not yet been developed in his time, modern IQ experts believe that, based on his work and achievements, they can quite reliably estimate his intelligence range.

In this article, we invite you to an exciting exploration of everything that made Nikola Tesla remarkable, including his estimated IQ, his work, his life, and his death.

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What Was Nikola Tesla’s IQ?

In his time, Nikola Tesla was known as someone who could memorize a book after reading it just once, solve complex math without writing equations, run numerous complex experiments using very basic technology, and have other exceptional intellectual abilities.

While it is absolutely impossible to provide an accurate answer about Nikola Tesla's IQ level, his inventions and discoveries are solid proof of his extraordinary intelligence. IQ experts claim that Nikola Tesla’s IQ test score must have been in the range of 160 and 310 points.

This number would put him on the list of people with the highest IQs ever.

However, neither the estimations of Nikola Tesla’s IQ score nor his legacy, inventions, or scientific breakthroughs earned him the respect and recognition he deserved, especially in his time.

Even nowadays, you’ll run into a discussion about the rivalry between him and Thomas Edison and the infamous “War of Currents.”

From today's perspective, many would agree that Tesla’s genius was way beyond Edison’s abilities, who was, above all, a businessman first and an inventor second, but more on this later.

Many experts would rather compare Tesla and Einstein as kindred spirits and geniuses whose scientific contributions revolutionized the world.

The discussion about Nikola Tesla’s IQ vs. Albert Einstein’s IQ is still relevant and quite interesting, even though both are long gone.

However, the experts who engage in such comparisons often point out how different the two are. Einstein spent a lot of his time focusing on theory and a single area of physics, whereas Tesla was a prolific inventor and creator who worked on a number of different projects at once.

Nikola Tesla's Early Life & Education

Nikola Tesla's Early Life & Education

Nikola Tesla's Early Life & Education

Tesla was born on July 10, 1856, in the village of Smiljan, to a Serbian Orthodox priest and writer, Milutin Tesla, and a mother, Georgina Djuka, who was a very creative and capable woman known for her ability to craft various devices and household appliances.

Tesla showed an early interest in science, and his parents wholeheartedly supported him to gain an education and develop his talents.

So, his high education started at the Polytechnic Institute in Graz, Austria, where he fell in love with electrical engineering. From there on, he continued his studies of engineering and physics in Prague, working on many inventions along the way.

After his studies, Tesla moved to Budapest, Hungary, where he worked for the Central Telephone Exchange. He was already dreaming about harnessing the power of alternating current to transmit electricity over long distances at this time.

One of his most influential inventions, the induction motor, was also developed during this period.

In 1884, Nikola Tesla showed up in New York with just a few cents in his pocket and a recommendation letter from his previous employer. However, he wasn’t unemployed for too long and soon started working as Thomas Edison’s assistant.

The brilliant, inquisitive, and generous Nikola Tesla, however, felt constrained by Thomas Edison's different perspectives on electrical engineering, so he ultimately parted ways with him and went on to pursue his solo career as a scientist and inventor.

Nikola Tesla’s Scientific Achievements

Though most famous for his revolutionary inventions, Tesla has also made significant theoretical contributions to electrical engineering and physics. His achievements improved the quality of life for humankind in literally every area, from medicine to communication.

His alternating current power system and the first AC induction motor and transformer, which replaced Edison’s direct current system, made the generation, distribution, and transmission of electricity over long distances more efficient.

One of his most dramatic inventions was the “Tesla Coil,” a high-frequency transformer for the wireless transmission of electrical energy.

He also made a paramount contribution to the invention of radio technology with his “Tesla oscillator,” which is considered the precursor to radio technology. In this way, he greatly contributed to the development of the wireless communication technologies we know today.

Nikola Tesla IQ

Nikola Tesla IQ

Credit: fi.edu

While he received many awards for his work, he frequently struggled to get funds for his research and projects. However, he managed to overcome most of the obstacles and claim victory for his scientific work.

Some of the acknowledgments he received are:

  • Edison Medal, by the American Institute of Electrical Engineers, for exquisite accomplishments in the field of electrical engineering.
  • University of Paris Medal for his work on alternating currents
  • Elliott Cresson Medal for “Tesla Coil” and contributions to science and technology.

He won many more awards, but undoubtedly not as many as he deserved to win.

The “War of Currents”

A lot of Tesla’s work was marked by his rivalry with Thomas Edison. Edison took Tesla to work on redesigning his direct current generators, but Tesla’s visionary mind saw alternating current as the more efficient method for electricity transmission.

Edison was such a fierce opponent of Tesla’s vision that he even started a public campaign that aimed to discredit AC power. This period in the history of science is often referred to as the “War of Currents.”

Over time, it was clearly established that Tesla’s idea was superior, as this is what we use to this very day to power our electrical grids.

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Nikola Tesla’s Death

It sounds surreal that after all the ways in which he influenced science and life as we know it, Nikola Tesla died in poverty and solitude in his hotel room.

His financial situation was chronically critical, as he was always more focused on research and scientific work, unlike Thomas Edison, who was very commercially oriented.

The awards he won do not do justice to all the work he has done, and he received more recognition after his death than while he was alive. But, visionary as he was, it feels like he already knew his destiny well, which he captured by saying: “The present is theirs; the future for which I really worked is mine.”

His financial situation was especially difficult in his old age, when he lived from one hotel to another, struggling to make ends meet. He died on January 7, 1943, in his hotel room at the New Yorker Hotel in New York City, at the age of 86.

His last wish to be buried with Schubert’s composition “Ave Maria’ and the traditional Serbian song “Far Away” was reportedly respected.

The urn with Nikola Tesla’s ashes rests in the Museum of Nikola Tesla in Belgrade, Serbia.

Key takeaways

Key Takeaways

Nikola Tesla paved the way for many of the technological advancements we are enjoying today. He devoted his life solely to science, never having his own family, constantly facing discouragement and obstacles, yet never giving up on his visions and ideas.

While today his name is spoken with the utmost respect, he didn’t live to see adequate acknowledgment for all that he has done in his life. Nevertheless, his legacy shines bright and stands perhaps as a reminder to admire the geniuses of our time while we still can.

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