Nikola Tesla (1856-1943), the innovative physicist and engineer, had a hand in the invention of the light bulb, the radio, the transistor and the X-ray, but he never got public credit for his work. Some consider Tesla "the greatest geek who ever lived," and now Matt Inman, creator of humor website The Oatmeal is working to save the great scientist's old laboratory.
Help me raise money to buy Nikola Tesla's old laboratory is.gd/3hQ94c— Matthew Inman (@Oatmeal) August 15, 2012
Tesla's lab, formally known as Wardenclyffe Tower, was initially built to provide wireless energy, but funding for the project was cut in 1917. Now the land is on sale for a whopping $1.6 million.
According to The Oatmeal, a non-profit organization wants to purchase the land to build a Nikola Tesla Museum. Inman launched an Indiegogo campaign for the cause, and if he can raise $850,000, the state of New York will match the amount, bringing the total funds raised to $1.7 million.
"Nikola Tesla was an unsung hero in the history books," Inman told Forbes' Greg Voakes when explaining the reasoning behind The Oatmeal's push for action.
"He gave us so much and we gave him so little in return. The fact that there’s no physical Tesla Museum in the United States is a testament to this. Tesla’s rival, Thomas Edison, has multiple sites which honor his achievements, but Tesla’s got some little memorials here and there but no real museum here. This is something that needs to be fixed," he added.
As of Thursday afternoon, Inman's Indiegogo campaign, called "Let's Build a Goddamn Tesla Museum," had raised nearly $380,000 with 45 days left to go.
Inman has had great success with his donation campaigns in the past.
In June, he created a campaign called "BearLove Good, Cancer Bad" in response to a legal notice demanding Inman remove allegedly false accusations he made about website FunnyJunk. A lawyer for the site said Inman could pay FunnyJunk $20,000 in damages instead of spending time in court. But instead of giving FunnyJunk the money, Inman set up a fundraiser for cancer. He surpassed his $20,000, reaching $220,024.
Will you help The Oatmeal save Nikola Tesla's lab?
"Let the future tell the truth and evaluate each one according to his work and accomplishments. The present is theirs; the future, for which I really worked, is mine." - "A Visit to Nikola Tesla" by Dragislav L. Petković in Politika (April 1927)
"All that was great in the past was ridiculed, condemned, combated, suppressed -- only to emerge all the more powerfully, all the more triumphantly from the struggle." -A Means for Furthering Peace (1905)
"To create and to annihilate material substance, cause it to aggregate in forms according to his desire, would be the supreme manifestation of the power of Man's mind, his most complete triumph over the physical world..." -Man's Greatest Achievement (1907;1930)
"What we now want most is closer contact and better understanding between individuals and communities all over the earth and the elimination of that fanatic devotion to exalted ideals of national egoism and pride, which is always prone to plunge the world into primeval barbarism and strife." -My Inventions (1919)
"What has the future in store for this strange being, born of a breath, of perishable tissue, yet Immortal, with his powers fearful and Divine?" -Man's Greatest Achievement (1907;1930)
"The individual is ephemeral, races and nations come and pass away, but man remains." -The Problem of Increasing Human Energy (1900)
"This planet, with all its appalling immensity, is to electric currents virtually no more than a small metal ball." -"The Transmission of Electric Energy Without Wires" in Electrical World and Engineer (5 March 1904)
"Though free to think and act, we are held together, like the stars in the firmament, with ties inseparable. These ties cannot be seen, but we can feel them." -The Problem of Increasing Human Energy (1900)
"The scientific man does not aim at an immediate result. He does not expect that his advanced ideas will be readily taken up... His duty is to lay the foundation for those who are to come, and point the way." -"Radio Power Will Revolutionize the World" in Modern Mechanics and Inventions (July 1934)