Milestone-Proposal:IEEE Special Citation to The Science Center at Wardenclyffe


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Docket #:2015-10

This proposal has been submitted for review.


To the proposer’s knowledge, is this achievement subject to litigation?


Is the achievement you are proposing more than 25 years old? Yes

Is the achievement you are proposing within IEEE’s designated fields as defined by IEEE Bylaw I-104.11, namely: Engineering, Computer Sciences and Information Technology, Physical Sciences, Biological and Medical Sciences, Mathematics, Technical Communications, Education, Management, and Law and Policy. Yes

Did the achievement provide a meaningful benefit for humanity? Yes

Was it of at least regional importance? Yes

Has an IEEE Organizational Unit agreed to pay for the milestone plaque(s)? Yes

Has an IEEE Organizational Unit agreed to arrange the dedication ceremony? Yes

Has the IEEE Section in which the milestone is located agreed to take responsibility for the plaque after it is dedicated? Yes

Has the owner of the site agreed to have it designated as an IEEE Milestone? Yes


Year or range of years in which the achievement occurred:

Wardenclyffe’s relevant activities stem from 1900 to 1905.

Title of the proposed milestone:

Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe

Plaque citation summarizing the achievement and its significance:

IEEE, the international society of electrical, electronics, and computer engineers and scientists, recognizes the Tesla Science Center for preserving Nikola Tesla's legacy, and making it accessible to scholars and laypersons throughout the world. Tesla's pioneering work with electromagnetic waves and high voltages that he further pursued at Wardenclyffe drew on his prior seminal accomplishments in alternating current polyphase electric power systems.

In what IEEE section(s) does it reside?

IEEE Long Island Section.

IEEE Organizational Unit(s) which have agreed to sponsor the Milestone:

IEEE Organizational Unit(s) paying for milestone plaque(s):

Unit: IEEE Long Island Section
Senior Officer Name: Victor Zourides

IEEE Organizational Unit(s) arranging the dedication ceremony:

Unit: IEEE Long Island Section
Senior Officer Name: Victor Zourides

IEEE section(s) monitoring the plaque(s):

IEEE Section: IEEE Long Island Section
IEEE Section Chair name: John Vodopia

Milestone proposer(s):

Proposer name: Jesse Taub
Proposer email: Proposer's email masked to public

Please note: your email address and contact information will be masked on the website for privacy reasons. Only IEEE History Center Staff will be able to view the email address.

Street address(es) and GPS coordinates of the intended milestone plaque site(s):

Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe 5 Randall Rd. Shoreham, NY11786 40.94781, -72.9003


Latitude 40 degrees, 50 minutes and 51.612 seconds North

Describe briefly the intended site(s) of the milestone plaque(s). The intended site(s) must have a direct connection with the achievement (e.g. where developed, invented, tested, demonstrated, installed, or operated, etc.). A museum where a device or example of the technology is displayed, or the university where the inventor studied, are not, in themselves, sufficient connection for a milestone plaque.

Please give the address(es) of the plaque site(s) (GPS coordinates if you have them). Also please give the details of the mounting, i.e. on the outside of the building, in the ground floor entrance hall, on a plinth on the grounds, etc. If visitors to the plaque site will need to go through security, or make an appointment, please give the contact information visitors will need. Tesla’s original Wardenclyffe Laboratory building at the Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe, Shoreham, NY.

Are the original buildings extant?

Tesla’s Wardenclyffe original Laboratory building exists and is being refurbished to be the dominant feature of the Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe.

Details of the plaque mounting:

At a prominent location such as the exterior wall at the entrance to the main laboratory or on a post at the entrance to the laboratory.

How is the site protected/secured, and in what ways is it accessible to the public?

The site will be readily accessible to the public and have full time security.

Who is the present owner of the site(s)?

The Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe, Shoreham, NY.

What is the historical significance of the work (its technological, scientific, or social importance)?

Wardenclyffe was a laboratory building that was built for and used by the great electricity pioneer, Nikola Tesla, from 1900 until 1905. In the early 1880’s Tesla was world famous for his invention of the AC induction motor and the three-phase system of electric power transmission. He became intrigued by electromagnetic waves and was awarded the first patent for demonstrating the wireless transmission of radio waves before Marconi (Ref.1). He had also invented the Tesla coil (Ref.2), which could generate tremendously high voltages that could produce powerful sparks. A spark was the main source for the generation of radio waves at the time.

He became convinced that he could erect a powerful transmitter and send energy without wires over long distances and possibly over the whole earth. He was able to get funding to do experiments at Colorado Springs, which he believed showed feasibility. He also had filed and was issued several patents related to his objective (Ref.3-7). He wanted to test out his ideas on a larger scale and was able to convince J. P. Morgan to construct a laboratory at Wardenclyffe, Long Island, NY that would allow him to generate more power and to further his ideas. It had a 187- foot transmitting tower and a completely equipped research laboratory. The tower was the highest man made structure on Long Island at that time.

He was never able to show any practical results and ultimately, J. P. Morgan stopped funding primarily because he was concerned about too much speculation in the wireless industry (Ref 7). Tesla’s attempts to get other financing were not successful and the laboratory ceased to function. The upper photo on the right is that of the uncompleted laboratory building from about 1904 when work on it stopped. The lower photo is that of the laboratory building showing the status of the restoration work completed by the Tesla Science Center.

Wardenclyffe.jpg
Wardenclyffe lab 2014.jpg


While he was not successful at Wardenclyffe, the laboratory has a great deal of historical significance.

· It is the only laboratory building that Tesla worked at that still exists. The impressive historic brick structure, designed by Stanford White, reflects a high measure of design integrity and workmanship. When completely refurbished, the 8800-sq. ft. building will become the centerpiece of the 16-acre campus of the Tesla Science Center. It will house not only historical artifacts and documents related to Tesla, but facilities for community and regional outreach, including educational events, lecture series, and celebrations related to important scientific and engineering developments. · An important part of The Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe’s mission is to preserve Tesla’s legacy for current and future generations. · While some of his ideas for wireless power transmission did not work in the form that he conceived them, the general concepts are very much alive. Charging electronic devices batteries via wireless means can obsolete the need to replace implantable batteries required by cardiac pace makers. There have been demonstrations of helicopters that had all their power beamed to them from the ground and stayed aloft for hours. A common household application is the induction charging of electric toothbrushes. Many other examples of wireless power harvesting could he cited. It is currently a research and development area of high interest. · The Tesla Science Center by highlighting Tesla’s inventions will be a force to instill innovation and inspire the many children and young adults that will visit it in the years to come. · Practicing electrical, electronics and computer engineers will benefit by visiting the Tesla Science Center by gaining a much better understanding of the great contributions made by Tesla to their engineering profession.

Further information regarding Tesla and Wardenclyffe can be found in an excellent biography by W. Bernard Carlson (Ref. 8).

What obstacles (technical, political, geographic) needed to be overcome?

After Tesla left Wardenclyffe in 1905, the facility was eventually purchased by the photography company AGFA and then abandoned. A viable organization needed to be formed and it was, the Tesla Science Center. It had to raise a great deal of funds to purchase the structures and the surrounding land. It required further funding to undertake its conversion into a science center that would attract both educators and the general public. Evidence of their activities can be found in Refs. 9-12.

What features set this work apart from similar achievements?

The closest examples would be the Tesla Museum in Belgrade, which was given an IEEE Special Citation. Wardenclyffe is the only surviving laboratory facility where Tesla did his research. The Science Center will also stress science education in addition to honoring Tesla’s legacy. Details from the Tesla Science Center’s Strategic Plan and facilities for scholarly access follow. Tesla Science Center Strategic Plan-Executive Summary “In the summer of 2012, the Tesla Science Center (TSC) launched a fund-raising campaign to purchase Wardenclyffe, the 16-acre site of famed inventor Nikola Tesla’s last remaining laboratory in the world. In partnership with Matt Inman (theOatmeal.com), TSC was able to raise more than $1.37M in donations from 33,000 contributors, and purchased the property on May 2, 2013. TSC has prepared this strategic plan to establish a center for science, education, and innovation. Our mission is to restore and develop the site of Nikola Tesla’s last remaining laboratory in Shoreham, NY, USA, into a center for science, education, and innovation. At this center we will • Inform people about Tesla, his inventions, and his impact on our lives; • Demonstrate applications of science and technology; • Educate people about science and technological innovation; • Advance innovations in technology with supportive programs and facilities. The Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe will have two primary components: the Science Zone and the Technology Zone. The Center will also have a Physics Playground, event and exhibit halls, and an Environmental Sciences Corner. The Science Zone will include the Nikola Tesla Museum and the Imagination Station (iStation). The Museum will be housed in the Italianate brick building designed by Stanford White that was Tesla's original laboratory. The building will be restored in accordance with the Federal and State standards for historic preservation. One of the main rooms, which Tesla used as a display area, will again be used that way, with displays spanning the period from Tesla’s time to the present and projecting into the future. They will illustrate Tesla’s inventions and their importance for today. The other large room, which was Tesla's workshop, will continue that theme with interactive exhibits, and will also have tools and machines similar to those he used, to convey the feeling that you are in his original laboratory. As a long-term goal, TSC will seek to find or have replicas fabricated of Tesla’s original equipment. The Station will include demonstrations and interactive exhibits of science and technology, classrooms, and an auditorium with stadium-style seating. The auditorium may be designed so that an IMAX-type theatre can be incorporated in the future. The multi-purpose event halls will be used for competitions, exhibits, conferences, and any other activities requiring a large space. These facilities will be a learning resource for students and teachers of science and technology. The Technology Zone will include the Innovation Lab and the Maker Studio. Tesla’s many interests included renewable energy, wireless transmission of information and power, and robotics, topics that are still active. For selected entrepreneurs who are launching new technology companies, perhaps in one of these fields, the Innovation Lab will provide office space, technical infrastructure, mentoring, and connections to engineering and financial resources.

The Maker Studio will be an open community workshop that addresses our goal of enhancing education in science and technology. It will allow users to design, prototype and create new techniques or devices by sharing space, equipment and knowledge. Classes will also be offered, as interest and opportunity arise.

The Innovation Lab and the Studio will provide income and they will also interact with the Imagination Station on educational programs. Energy efficiency, LEED-certified buildings, environmental protection, and leading edge technology will always be high priorities for TSC@W. Signage explaining the Green design and technologies utilized at the Center will be interactive and provide real-time data on energy consumptions, savings and concepts. Tesla Science Center’s Plans for Scholarly Access TSC will be producing as many avenues for research into Tesla and his work as it is able to manage. Anything it is able to provide within copyright law and practical considerations will be available online or in a physical archive/library for scholars and others. It does not intend to duplicate the information of the teslacollection.com, which is an online searchable database of nearly every article in newspapers and magazines about Tesla during his lifetime and beyond. Instead, TSC will direct researchers to that resource as appropriate. Included in TSC's planned gift shop will be books by Carlson, Seifer, and Tesla himself ("My Inventions"), as well as others (Cheney, O'Neill, etc., as available in print), and others that are directed to children. TSC also intends to reproduce several publications such as Electrical Experimenter that had a year-long series in 1919 devoted to Tesla interviews and articles he wrote.”

TSC will also record the presentations of key historians who speak at TSC events and make them available to researchers. (Historian Bernard Carlson, who was just awarded the 2015 IEEE History Center Middleton Award for his book on Tesla, was the keynote speaker at the TSC 2013 Tesla birthday celebration.)

Supporting texts and citations to establish the dates, location, and importance of the achievement: Minimum of five (5), but as many as needed to support the milestone, such as patents, contemporary newspaper articles, journal articles, or chapters in scholarly books. 'Scholarly' is defined as peer-reviewed, with references, and published. You must supply the texts or excerpts themselves, not just the references. At least one of the references must be from a scholarly book or journal article. All supporting materials must be in English, or accompanied by an English translation.

1. Nikola Tesla US Patent No.685,953. “Apparatus for Utilizing Effects Transmitted From a Distance to a Receiving Device Through Natural Media.” Filed June 24, 1899, granted Nov.5 1901

2. Nikola Tesla US Patent No.568,177. “Apparatus for Producing Currents of High Frequency and Potential.” Filed April 22,1896, granted Sept. 22,1896.

3. Nikola Tesla US Patent No. 645,578. “System for Transmission of Electrical Energy.” Filed Sept. 1897, granted March 20, 1900.

4. Nikola Tesla, US Patent 787,412. “The Art of Transmitting Energy Through the Natural Mediums.” Filed May 16, 1900, granted April 18, 1905.

5. Nikola Tesla, US Patent 723, 188. “Method of Signaling.” Filed July 16, 1900, granted March 12, 1903.

6. Nikola Tesla, US Patent 725, 605. “System of Signaling.” Filed July 16, 1900, granted April 14, 1905.

7. Nikola Tesla, US Patent 655, 838. “Method of Insulating Electrical Conductors.” Filed June 15, 1900, granted August 14, 1900.

8. W. Bernard Carlson, “Tesla Inventor of the Electrical Age.” Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ 2013.

9. Elon Musk Donates $1 Million to New Tesla Museumhttp://northforker.com/2014/10/27/teslas-lab-shoreham-opens-public-photos/?ic_source=ic-featured-frontpage-top

10. Tesla’s Lab in Shoreham opens to the public: Photos http://northforker.com/2014/10/27/teslas-lab-shoreham-opens-public-photos/?ic_source=ic-featured-frontpage-top

11. Suffolk to Honor Nikola Tesla’s Birthday in July http://www.longislandpress.com/2014/03/20/suffolk-to-honor-nikola-teslas-birthday-in-july/

12. Tesla Science Center Takes Shape in Shoreham http://www.longislandpress.com/2013/09/24/tesla-science-center-takes-shape-in-shoreham/

Supporting materials (supported formats: GIF, JPEG, PNG, PDF, DOC): All supporting materials must be in English, or if not in English, accompanied by an English translation. You must supply the texts or excerpts themselves, not just the references. For documents that are copyright-encumbered, or which you do not have rights to post, email the documents themselves to ieee-history@ieee.org. Please see the Milestone Program Guidelines for more information.


Please email a jpeg or PDF a letter in English, or with English translation, from the site owner(s) giving permission to place IEEE milestone plaque on the property, and a letter (or forwarded email) from the appropriate Section Chair supporting the Milestone application to ieee-history@ieee.org with the subject line "Attention: Milestone Administrator." Note that there are multiple texts of the letter depending on whether an IEEE organizational unit other than the section will be paying for the plaque(s).