Free lecture on inventor Nikola Tesla |

Free lecture on inventor Nikola Tesla

Staff Report

Mike Thomas lectures on Star Wars at Western Nevada College’s Jack C. Davis Observatory on Dec. 12, 2015.

Why is Elon Musk's electric car company named Tesla?

Visionary inventor Nikola Tesla served as that inspiration for his humanitarian efforts to make the world a better place for people through his research work and inventions.

There's much more to learn about Tesla, and speaker Mike Thomas will focus on the "mad scientist" during a free lecture on Saturday at Western Nevada College's Jack C. Davis Observatory.

"Was he a genius scientist/inventor or a troubled eccentric?" Thomas said.

Doors to the observatory open at 6 for Thomas' 6:30 p.m. lecture.

Tesla, a rival of Thomas Edison late in the 19th century, invented alternating current, and his research work triggered significant advances in lasers, X-rays, robotics, radar, lighting and wireless communication. His projects generated funding from industrial and financial mogul J.P. Morgan and entrepreneur and engineer George Westinghouse.

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Thomas has been giving lectures at the observatory as part of his Northern Nevada lecture series for a decade. His passion for astronomy also includes a seven-year stint as president of the Western Nevada Astronomical Society.

On Saturday nights when lectures aren't scheduled, the observatory is open to the public from sundown to 11 p.m. At this time, the Western Nevada Astronomical Society hosts Star Parties, bringing together people with an interest in astronomy.

The observatory is at 2699 Van Patten Drive in Carson City.