Los Angeles, CA: IPA’s Tesla Award is named for Nikola Tesla (1856-1943), in honor of the man whose many discoveries and inventions continue to have a ripple effect on modern technology. As an inventor, physicist, mechanical and electrical engineer, Tesla credited with more than 700 inventions and 100 patents in the US and Europe.
When Tesla discovered the rotating magnetic field in 1882 during his research years in Budapest, Hungary, a whole new era in modern scientific research and medical technology was born. All Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machines are calibrated in “Tesla” units, which are the international standard unit of magnetic flux density adopted in 1956. The invention of MRI machines is only part of Nikola Tesla’s legend and legacy.
Son of a Serbian Orthodox clergyman, Nikola Tesla was born into Smiljan Lika, a territory of the former Yugoslavia then occupied by the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Much of his schooling took place in Graz, Austria, and the University of Prague. While conducting his research work in the United States of America, Tesla became a naturalized American citizen in 1891.
As a revolutionary thinker, Tesla is recognized among the most innovative engineers of the late 19th century and early 20th century. His patents and theoretical work form the basis of modern alternating current electric power (AC) systems, including the polyphase power distribution system and AC motor.
In America, Tesla’s name became a byword for futuristic innovation coupled with practical achievement. The public and the media deemed him a “magician” who conjured up spectacular technical feats. After his demonstration of wireless communication in the late 1800’s and after being declared the victor in the “War of Currents”, Tesla was widely respected as America’s greatest electrical engineer.
Under the sponsorship of George Westinghouse, Nikola Tesla lit up the World Columbia Expo in Chicago in 1893 with a glittering light and electrical energy display, validating Tesla’s status as the originator of technologies which helped usher in the Second Industrial Revolution.
Tesla’s legacy can be seen across modern civilization wherever electricity is used. Tesla envisioned the earth’s ionosphere as a rarified environment for communication and has been validated by the wireless industry. His unparalleled showmanship and penchant for innovative theories and ingenious methods live on in his namesake Tesla Award presented each year during the International Press Academy’s Satellite Awards.
IPA’s first Tesla Award recipient was George Lucas in 2003. Other honorees include James Cameron, Jerry Lewis, Stan Winston, Richard Donner, Dennis Muren, Rick Baker, Robert A. Harris, Douglas Trumbull and Walter Murch.