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Nikola Tesla's greatest challenge: He could measure electricity but not stupidity


Tesla was exception at intuitively understanding near-field effects, and the evolution of coupled 3D rotating fields.

He didn't understand far-field effects *at all*, and didn't have the mathematical expertise to fake it by working with the equations.

The former ability allowed him to design rotating electrical machinery that people hadn't even conceived of. Everyone else was thinking in terms of static fields, resulting in awkward, inefficient commutated motors and generators. Tesla's AC generators and motors were compact, symmetrical, efficient, smooth and reliable.

But his lack of mathematical ability meant that he was often very wrong when his intuition failed. That was evident in his ideas that were, to put it gently, were those of a crackpot.

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