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Tesla's Connection to Columbia University*

James F. Corum
Kenneth L. Corum
Pages: 11
Keywords: Tesla, Science History

The Electrical Engineering curriculum at Columbia University, though not the first in the US, is one of the oldest and most respected EE programs in the world. From the beginning, a conscientious effort was made to base it on a foundation of science. It has been guided by the specific philosophy stated by Professor Michael Pupin: ?Professor Crocker and I maintained that there is an ?electrical science' which is the real soul of electrical engineering.?

Arguably the most stunning and significant lecture in modern history was presented one spring evening, more than a century ago, at Columbia University. The wealth of nations turned on its merits. Weighing on the balances would be our vast cities, civilization, and quality of life.

But, what was it? . . .Whatever it was, its impact has been as momentous for the progress and prosperity of civilization as the invention of the wheel! . . . It was Tesla's great discovery and analysis of the rotating magnetic field, and a means for the electrical distribution of energy.

* The question was recently asked, "What do Columbia and Tesla have in common?" This note was prepared in response.