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The Scientific Rhetoric of Nikola Tesla


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Varošanec-Škarić, Gordana. (2017). The Scientific Rhetoric of Nikola Tesla. In: New Insights into Rhetoric and Argumentation. Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Split, pp. 210-238. ISBN 978-953-7395-99-5

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The world's topmost scientists and engineers admire the elegant solutions of Tesla's patents. However, his theoretical expositions revealed the same amount of rhetorical elegance as well. The Man who Invented the 20th Century was ahead of his time most of the time. His successful speeches and lectures on discoveries were rather inspirational. In his research notes and articles in the popular scientific magazines he effectively used deductive reasoning, causal relations, carefully selected analogies, metaphors. In the late 19th century he discovered an “unusual, pencil-thin stream of light” which he metaphorically described as ”the death ray.” The particularly successful analogy is between the Arc of the Covenant and the condenser which he calls the ”uncanny agent“ on which he experimented by using regular tin cans. Needless to say, his ideas of wireless transmission, teledirected weapons, ”fire balls“ and ”death rays“ are no longer considered odd and have come to be subsequently implemented. He rightfully disliked being called a visionary, but time has proved that he was a brilliant scientist and sourcerer. Tesla's clear, elegant and metaphorical style undoubtedly enriched the rhetoric of science.

Item Type: Book Section
Uncontrolled Keywords: Nikola Tesla, scientific rhetoric, reasoning, analogy, probability, metaphor
Subjects: Phonetics
Departments: Department of Phonetics
Date Deposited: 15 May 2017 11:01
Last Modified: 15 May 2017 11:01

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